Food For Thought

So the brilliant and beautiful Carmen, from King’s College London, wonders how I am coping a month and a half after leaving the news business.
“Don’t you miss it?”
It’s a bit like that old saying about banging your head against the wall. It feels so good to stop!

Of course, that doesn’t mean my brain has recovered from blunt-force journalistic trauma. I had to look at the Blonds Across the Pond for more months than I care to remember.
Each new idiocy from the Celebrity-in-Chief was covered breathlessly by the liberal media outlets, no doubt in the hope that it would lessen his influence.

But the constant flow of stupidities only served to increase his fame and power.
To the intellectual diminishment of us all.

And guess what? No matter what happens next week, that will not change.
Because the media can’t afford to stop covering the clown.

As writers like Nicholas Carr (The Shallows) and Susan Greenfield (Mind Change) will tell you, following social media-driven news coverage has the effect of eroding our ability to read deeply and think comprehensively.
Our politics could well serve as Exhibit A for that argument.

And if you’ve got a smartphone, the Tyranny of the Left Hand will have exactly the same effect.

If you’re not ready to kick the video habit just yet, you might want to check this out. It lays out the case against the 2D world far better than I ever could.

But thanks to the wonders of neuroplasticity, the brain is a very resilient organ.
And if you form healthier habits, it can recover from even the most moronic of tendencies.

Now that I no longer have to spend eight hours a day in a newsroom, and without exposure to TV or Facebook, my mind is quickly recovering.
And this, dear readers, is my new phone. It’s so dumb, it’s genius!

So how do I fill up the eight hours a day that I used to spend reading stuff I didn’t want to read?
By reading stuff that I do!

I am currently enjoying A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts by Joseph Bagley, which is giving me a real insight into the places I walk past (like the Boston Common) every day. (Thank you, Patricia!).

And the Athenaeum’s silent Reading Room is even better than visiting a shrink.
Hours and hours and hours with no electronic notifications? It’s just what the Doctor ordered!

Being surrounded by books gives me a very exciting glimpse of my mental future. (I would sing and dance with glee, but, hey, it is a library.)

Perhaps most importantly, writing this blog gives me the chance to sit and think without annoying digital interruptions. Because multitasking is not an efficient use of anyone’s time. It’s really the road to mental impairment. 
Just ask anyone with small children.

Going out to lunch in the North End and having my cugino cook for me is also a habit that is keeping both mind and body in a rude state of health.

But that is the subject for an upcoming post.

So thanks for asking, Carmen. Can’t wait to read your latest book!
As for the rest of you: Free your mind.
Because it’s the only one you will ever have.