This post is a revamp of an older one. As I ate my lunch a couple of days ago, I was visited by a horrific recollection of that Bill Nye bit known as “My Sex Junk”. Well, it does at least tell you it’s junk, but while I wish I could unsee it, I can’t. I can only forget about it if I’m lucky.
This is a form of mental clutter. A few months ago I decided I’d had enough of “news” and since then I more or less only know about what other people tell me about and mostly avoid allowing it into my mind. As with the aforementioned horror show, if I do look it tends to be after several people have mentioned it. The first couple of mentions at least are generally ignored.
I also decided that I wanted to make my online access somewhat less conducive to my usual habits and didn’t want to be chained to my computer to do anything online. I decided I wanted to get a used smartphone to use as a mini-tablet, as I didn’t want a big tablet because it’s awkward to use the camera and just generally I don’t care for them, the old Kindle Fire is kind of useless really, and we didn’t already have any smartphones. Eventually we changed phone plans for one that is less than half the cost of the previous one and bought an inexpensive phone that I use as a mini-tablet.
Now that I’ve made a short story long, I have changed my internet habits quite a bit, which actually may have been the first act in this particular round of serious decluttering. (Like I said, it’s hard to pinpoint the beginning). When mind is cluttered, it is more difficult to take care of the physical environment.
I don’t think anyone can really process so much information day after day. It makes me wonder if the constant flow of useless information isn’t a huge part of our problems in the current age. This is a form of “future shock”, in which the environment changes faster than our ability to adapt to it. We may compensate, but it always feels like damage control more than real adaptation.
I believe that too much “news” is bad for your health – and not just your mental health, but certainly that too. I don’t think the current proliferation of mental disturbance and physical ailment is solely environmental, but that a lot of it is enviro-mental – that is, the mental environment in which one chooses to immerse one’s self. It is well known that the mind affects the body – even to the point where happier people feel less physical pain – thus it stands to reason that if the majority of what you consume daily is doom and gloom, perversity, and otherwise depressing and ugly, you are not going to make yourself happy and your body will shut down along with your mind.
Depressed people won’t get up and do what needs to be done and so stay in a mindless state of slavery. Half the game is fifty percent mental, as Yogi Berra said. You can “eat clean” all you like and that’s great, but thinking clean is at least as important. It is one thing to keep up on current events to an extent, but day by day not much changes and there’s only so many times one needs to hear about the revolting behavior of the so-called elite and celebrity.
The worst part of following all this stuff (more stuff!) is not only is it unedifying and adds no value to your life, it sucks beauty out and replaces it with ugliness and distortion. It sucks the life out of the people who consume it. It is a parasite and a blight.
There is always a time to take back your own mind. You have the power in your own hands to banish the garbage. The act of decluttering your mind may the the most important, and decluttering your physical life is a piece in the larger puzzle. It matters what you fill your mind with. If it is not useful or beautiful, what purpose does it serve? What if the ultimate counter-revolutionary act is taking control of your own mind and environment? In other words, what if it is possible to free yourself from the chains of the consumerist culture that have been imposed upon you?