Wednesday, 2 January 2019

What am I putting in my head?

The start of 2019 finds me in a reflective mood.  I've been up here on the farm for my summer break through a particularly protracted run of hot days.  Camus spoke of a situation like this as a time to take the measure of one's riches (Summer in Algiers).  On balance, I think this is a dangerous thing.  Taking the measure of what one has inevitably leads to pondering what one does not have, and this is the root of dissatisfaction.

Some of you will know that I've been pondering a lack of friends lately.  An oddish thing that I've realised is that there are a couple of people in my current circle I could become close friends with.  I've deliberately held back on moving things in that direction.  This has actually surprised me a little.  I can't say I decided (not) to do it, so much as rationalised a visceral reaction.  I don't know why that is, except that people seem to spend much of their time trying to hurt and damage each other or to secure emotional ascendancy over each other.  I don't have it in me to turn my life into a psychological game of Risk.  This is an odd thing.  Google comes up with multiple suggestions for people who are mateless over summer, but they tend to involve making friends.  By contrast, being without a significant other over summer is viewed as a broadly positive option.  Does anyone else think that being a loner or a hermit needs to be offered as a positive life choice a bit more?

Image result for facebook friend purge

The other lack that I've detected in my life that I can remedy is much easier to address.  There's a persistent lack of peace of mind that I tend to put down to my (over)use of social media.  This may itself be a reflection of the preceding paragraph, but that's another matter.  Anyway, on my to-do list is a purge of my Facebook for "friends" I never interact with or scarcely know, and also of pages that tend to be a waste of time.  Even more serious is a purge of Twitter: the number of people I need to mute is quite long.  At any rate, the criteria I feel I need to apply are -
  • Is it illuminating?
  • It it uplifting?
  • Is it ennobling?
  • Is it funny?
If the answer to all of these is "no" then it's probably not adding anything of value to my life.

Looking over this post, I think the lesson is that I need to be as canny about what I put into my brain as I amd about what goes into my body.

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