23 Comments
Nov 17, 2019Liked by Robert Wright

Well, I often think that I listen to podcasts too much. Wouldn't it be"better"to read (or listen to) more books?

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I think I don't read enough of long-form writing—from in-depth articles to books—and I feel I should try to listen to new podcasts more often, instead of only following a handful of favorites.

But my relationship with social media has improved greatly over the last few years. I deleted my Facebook account and keep my "Following" count on Twitter at 80 or less. (I got to this number after a few acid trips, each of which was followed by spending part of the morning removing unnecessary or harmful ingredients from my media diet.)

I still follow new people and outlets, which forces me to delete older subscriptions to prevent the list from growing; this continuous and conscious renewal of the feed feels healthy. I like to notice how whole parts of online discourse emerge or disappear from my mind, and the view of the what's important about our current situation changes, based on these choices.

I once spent about a month not following any news whatsoever and getting them from friends and family instead. It was interesting, and I didn't feel like I've lost much. The conversations about the news changed, because I never entered them with an opinion about a news event; and learning about the news felt different because it was always 100% clear I'm not getting unbiased or fully informed takes—and the biases I was aware of were not "liberal" or "conservative" or "pro-Putin" etc., but more like "mom bias", "aspbergery tech guy bias", "easily excited person bias", and so forth.

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Increasingly lean on long form to inform myself...I like to think more considered ideas are to be found there

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We evolved in small-groups where the internal politics were important. Therefore we all have political instincts. It's easy to get carried away reading political media. Since we don't really live in small groups any more, time spent on politics might be fairly useless and ineffective in terms of actual change. So I try to minimize that. I also don't like being manipulated so I avoid advertisements when possible.

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I think my visual consumption has gone way down. I just found myself constantly angry. I now read this newsletter, Heather Cox Richardson's, The Atlantic, NYT, Washington Post and The New Yorker. Any other news items I come across, I check against Media Bias. I try to keep all of my news sources in the green area. I'm listening to music alot more. I just don't think it's worth my mental health to listen to all the yelling and gratuitous meanness.

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I like that you mention music. Made me think I'd like to include more art in my media diet, including art that addresses political/social issues.

If you try to understand the politics of 1960s without listening to that decade's music, in many ways you would fail. There probably are currents of art/culture that I'm missing now that would help me understand my time better.

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I am retired so I am time rich now. When I worked I was a semi-workaholic. I have been intersted in politics and what is going on in foreign affairs since high school. Being retired has allowed me to indulge myself with lots of reading...not just news. I do zero social media although I have a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter account that I used to pay attention to for business reasons. Now they are virtually igonored. In fact I have been thinking I might just delete them. I follow Robert Wright and others on BloggingHeasd.TV as well as MeaningOfLife.TV. I follow Sam Harris via samharris.org. I subscribe to newsletters from Snopes.com, bbc.com, theconversation.com, theatlantic.com, Aeon.co, Vox.com, Fareed Zakaria's newsletter via CNN.com, allsides.com, bigthink.com, and Ted.com. I am very careful to pay attention to media bias on both sides of the aisle if you will. I check them out at mediabiasfactcheck.com and other media bias rating sites. I am not upset by any of it so I don't think it bothers me or is bad for me.

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I basically stopped any News consumption three weeks ago and I do not feel like I am missing a Thing. It leaves you more time to spend on issues you really (should or do) care about, you are calmer (not just because News are so aggravating, but because you are less distracted and less in a hurry to get the latest developments), and you start to realize that even for small talk you do not need to know the latest rumour or development or breaking news. Most of the stuff will not matter to history.

That said, my podcast consumption (eg. The Wright Show ;)) has gone way up. Maybe this is a form of subconscious compensation for the news shortage, who knows.

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Yes,Id say I consume too much media content. It's usually politics which is new for me since 2016 when he-who-i-dont-want-to-think-about got elected. Besides politics, mostly dharmaseed talks, usually prefer Joseph Goldstein but like a lot of others as well. Used to take more Coursera classes, which is where I learned of you (took your course a few years back!), but I'd like silence more often so yes, too much content

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Pretty much all of my consumption (human interaction) is via "media". Specifically internet and cable TV. Internet is email, Youtube, Facebook, Goodreads, and Wordpress. My favorite subscriptions are yours, Joe Rogan, Scott Adams, Krystal Ball @Rising, Matt Taibbi @Rollingstone, Nick Dipalo, infinite conversations, and FOX10news out of Phoenix, AZ. I also have subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon prime, and Showtime, which I access via Roku. Too much? Sure. The only true human conversations I had on a regular basis I had to pay for at $130. per 50minute session w/a licensed clinical psychologist. Which I just terminated after 2+ years. The "main stream media" is a bad joke, aka "fake news". I wish it weren't so, but I've yet to find my "team". All my 'friends' & family 'cancelled' me when I came out for Trump and subsequently wrote a book about the election. www.markjabbour.com Logic? my sense of self, mental & physical health.

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I have no benchmark so don't know how to answer the first question. In the current climate what I call opinionators get the least of my attention though that is getting harder and harder to avoid as what passes for journalism nowadays is veiled opinionation... Increasingly I want my information to be means tested like the food I eat.

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Depends on what is defined by ‘media’. I don’t spend much time on social media but I do read several news feeds in Apple News on a wide variety of topics and listen to several podcasts; news and some politics. Either way, the amount feels about right. Probably less than reading the daily paper and a magazine. There isn’t enough unique ‘news’ each day to spend a lot of time on it.

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I've been consuming way too much Trump-related media, both on CNN and Twitter. This started with his election, when I became hyper-vigilant of the threat he represented to the USA and perhaps the world. Not only is counterproductive because giving a malignant narcissist attention is precisely what he demands in order to continue as a gratified and effective malignant narcissist , but also because , quite perversely, I find myself filtering out non-Trump downfall news as low priority. Example: I paid less attention this week to the slaughter of civilians in Gaza than to Trump tweeting about his former ambassador to Ukraine.

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Cynically I have zero influence over global events, effectively zero influence over national events, near zero effect on events in Wisconsin, slightly greater than zero influence over events in my local community... basically any time I spend forming opinions about any of those events is a complete waste and therefore I consume too much.

That said having those opinions may result in me looking smart (or not having them may result in me looking dumb) in some social situations, so in that way my consumption is probably about right to a little much.

If I think of it as pure entertainment then I consume it to the extent that I enjoy and so that is probably about the right... unless I weigh the opportunity cost of doing something that is healthier for me long-term in which case I consume too much.

Probably I consume too much media ;)

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I often feel that not having an opinion and not knowing the events actually helps me socially. People are happy to explain what happened and what they think about it to somebody who is genuinely curious about the topic, and it's easier to be genuinely curious about, say, Amerian politics, if I've missed the last two weeks of scandals and discussions and actually want to catch up.

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I think I consume just the right amount. I get my news here, and from other Bloggingheads people. For example, I support Bill and Matt on Patreon, and listen to their show and attend their weekly zoom meeting. Between the two, I learn about politics. I also like Bob and Mickey's public broadcast, becauseit lets me know what happened that week. I also get Conor F.'s newsletter, and various others. Then I surf Twitter, and while I don't mistake the takes for the truth, it gives me a whiff of what people are talking about. I don't actually subscribe to any newspapers or magazines. Every time I read something from one of those, it always feels fabricated and padded to me.

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Shit, I wasn't thinking about the arts. I read a lot of poetry, and spiritual writing. A little science and philosophy. I don't really listen to much music anymore, not new music anyway. I maybe listen to about a half hour's worth throughout the week of old favorites.

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PS I don't have a TV.

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Hey! Time for a new topic! Ideas?

Also: Is it possible to have sub-threads in this forum? I ask because I’ve been reading Marcus Aurelius and noting similarities with Buddhist thought and wondering about the relationship between Buddhism and Stoicism; as well as noting the stark differences between one of the more self-aware, thoughtful, introspective, and mindful leaders who lived 2 millennia ago and the abhorrent leadership philosophies at work today. Trump is everything Marcus Aurelius would despise. This might have only limited appeal in this forum, but more broadly perhaps there might be others who would enjoy a monthly book reading group and discussion? Just an idea.

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I'd like to read more news but spend less time, meaning I'd like to cut out some of the random time-wasting browsing. I read the NY Times daily; glance at the Financial Times and read it on the weekend; look at about four blogs (Kottke, Marginal Revolution, Slate Star Codex and Branko Milanović on Global Inequality) and occasionally dip into Apple News and Slate. I get little to no exposure to right wing news except when Apple gives me something from the WSJ. Not enough time for the Atlantic, the New Yorker, the NY and London Reviews of Books, anything from other countries.

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Lately Ive decided to turn off my phone early evening and it worked very well on my well being ! It's not only to cut off media outlets it's also to cut off people in general. I guess the answer to your question Sir is yes I think I consume too much media ; social and other type.

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I’d say that I consume too much media. I subscribe to the NYT, the Washington Post, the Guardian and the New Yorker. I also watch Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO. Fortunately I am retired and have a fair amount of time to devote to these things. My reading of actual books has declined although I listen fairly regularly to audiobooks. I spend little time on social media, just looking at Instagram occasionally. What suffers as a result of all this? I spend almost no time on hobbies I used to enjoy, I don’t exercise as much as I should, and I procrastinate badly when it comes to household projects. Obviously, I need to find a better balance!

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