Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cat videos and grip

All too often late at night, when I know I should be blogging or working on taxes or reading one of the many books around me or playing guitar or talking to Mary or just trying to clear my mind, I find myself on Facebook reading what others have posted and perhaps even looking at cat, or goat, or puppy, or other random videos.  It's kind of embarrassing, honestly.

But it shouldn't be.  What's really happening is that my ability to be goal-directed is shutting down. Instead of watching late night TV and looking for a laugh or a nugget of insight there, I'm letting Facebook serve it up, in a manner which is curated by the people I've known throughout my lifetime, as opposed to by programming people at one of the networks.  And cat videos are nice, short, good-natured little narratives, or reflections on Being.

And yes, Facebook is learning who I am and what I click on and is honing its algorithms to serve up to me posts by the people it knows I prioritize, and then it is selling that knowledge to marketers, so they can give me more of what they know I want, etc.  To that extent I am outsourcing the disposition of my attention, and in some sense the formation of my ego and my legacy.

Whatevs. In all things there is and should be a balance between goal-directedness and just letting go. In baseball, if you grip the bat too firmly, it hurts your hands more when you strike the ball and you are less able to make the ball do what you want it to do.  One needs to grip the bat of being in the right way (insert penis joke here).

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