Can you think of any recent writing, or art, about it being somehow intellectually damaging, or spiritually dangerous, or in any other way harmful to constantly be plugged into content, particularly via an ipod or some other mp3 player?
Have you ever gotten into a state where you have your ipod available whenever you are, say, exercising, or going for a walk, or on a subway - really, any kind of stasis made use of such a background-filler, listening to podcasts, audiobooks, music, etc.? And then you inevitably have headphones on when you're on the computer, whether it's to block out distractions, or for its own sake? And if headphones aren't the carrying agent, there's some other way you always have *something* in front of you, some fount of content, be it the computer in front of you or the book in your knapsack? (Though, if I'm being honest with myself, for me it's more often electronically-based than not.)
I've been thinking about this lately, how I will sometimes live like this for a bit, but eventually feel a kind of nausea growing in me and have to take the headphones off, have to remove the informational source...and yet I'll sheepishly admit that sometimes I delay even this.
And it's got me to wondering - surely people have written about this in some way, about it somehow being a danger to constantly be receiving content, rather than in just taking part in neutral, unmediated experience, or creating content yourself? Surely there must be some neuroscience-based case that this is unhealthy, or some sociological polemic someone wrote against this phenomenon, or some case that it's spiritually draining? And yet the closest thing I can think of to this offhand is a passage in A.J. Jacobs' book The Know-It-All
, an account of a year spent reading the Encyclopedia Britannica in its entirety that I read a while back, where a Buddhist friend warns that the author that his undertaking might truly warp his mind. (This isn't, as far as I remember, ever explicated, so I have no idea if he's citing some piece of Buddhist thinking on memorization, or monkey mind, or something else entirely.)
This need not even be a modern question; someone 20 years ago who finished a book and immediately put pick up another without a moment's reflection might be guilty of the same, not to mention getting ready in the morning with the public/talk-radio on, etc. But it seems more probable in an age where you can have many GB of information loaded up on your ipod or whatever other device at all times, and somehow I feel like I want to read more about this issue - I just don't know where to look.