Communication and Media: Life beyond Media

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  • 5 years ago
  • Posted: November 12, 2014 at 11:03 am

Communication and Media: Life beyond Media

Communication is the life-blood of information. Without the communication of knowledge, there is very little that could go on in this planet. Life relies on communications and media so that things could work at a certain standard. The importance of media cannot be stressed enough in the world, especially how personal lives are daily determined by the communications in the media. The most key aspect of communications and media is how it affects the mind. I have never been more convinced of this piece of fact than I was when I experienced a seven-day abstinence from any access to media and went to great pains to ensure it happened.

I took leave from the hustle and bustle of the city and found myself a sort of Waldenian hermitage for which I could indulge my week-long experiment, that despite protestations from my friends and relations. I believe it was the most laudable decision I had made. The experience was most enlightening not to mention breath-taking. I experienced a mental shift that I fancy led to the uplifting of my spirit, sparking a mighty flame in my mind, giving my heart a potpourri of delightful feelings. Like the great Henry David Thoreau I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.

The Eve before my departure was a flurry of activities, putting my affairs in order as I saw myself going to die to my old self such that my new person might arise and be in such mood to live with singular action. I recall the anxiety I went through that evening because I was rather given to the trappings of media access, at the same excited, the mild adrenalin intoxication from the possibility of enjoying my deliberate living. I remember the confused imagery in my head that evening, a mixture of my anxieties about leaving with no media-access at all, on the other hand, the possible events that would take place while I was prancing about in the woods gaily.

My neural activity was veritably in overdrive, but at the end of the evening, came forth the dawn, my grand philosophic journey had begun in earnest, officially; the mental visualization had set the pace, actually, neuroscientists are convinced that there is no intellectual difference between seeing things in one’s head and the actual experience of the phenomenon because the segments in the brain that fire during actual physical event do so during the visualization of the same event. So, having bid my goodbyes to my friends and family, I set off in regal fashion, taking only what I needed, my five books, one of which, being a copy of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, three of which were my study books, the last two being copies of philosophy for the quiet nights engaged in high-thought. Of course, I told my relations and friends where it was I was heading just in case it was necessary to interrupt my hiatus because of some immitigable event.

The first day, driving from the enclave of the city and suburbs, removing myself from the urban terrain to indulge in beautiful conversation with Mother Nature, was a delicate blend of emotions; seeing people scurrying about to eke a living, scrolling their phones, the bill-board media of some random model seemingly smiling at me, no sooner than I was on the country road looking at the verdant greenery that flew past me, the trees rustling as if waving goodbye, I recall myself smiling at the thought, at the same time thinking of Einstein’s theory of relativity as passed the trees at considerable speed, my progress was assured because that was the first time I had really given thought to the theory, so I went on driving, taking every bit of scenery, which was all glorious to me, something inside was altering, new neural pathways beginning to form, re-igniting old ones, suddenly I was thinking of Einstein, Tesla, I supposed that all that information was stored somewhere in my temporal lobe, thinking the hippocampus had failed to work and I had forgotten the information. I was not even aware that such information existed in my brain.

I mused it was because of all those times I spent online, watching television, being bombarded by information. The cottage appeared as I drove towards the patio, I remember taking a deep breath, engulfing my lungs with that fresh country air, and I sat on the pile of uncut wood, which later in the week were to be axed for firewood, and took it all in. My heart was pumping exhilaratingly in the beginning, and then it slowed down to a steady pace. The pantry was fully stocked; I had made sure it was to avoid the inconvenience of accessing civilization and by extension media.

The night was warm, gathered at the settee near the fire-place, outstretched and clasping a copy derived from an eclectic mix of world philosophies. I have never been highly receptive to philosophy so it came as a surprise to me as I grew more fondly whilst I perused the pages, I supposed I was experiencing the ‘mental high’ associated with the grandiosity of philosophy. While I mauled over the thoughts of the wonderful men and women of thought, I noticed myself taking avenues of thought I had never thought I was capable of, high and deeper reasoning that I thought were only the privilege of university dons and geniuses.

I actually grew smarter I later surmised as neural pathways shifted to accommodate this sudden onslaught of unprecedented thinking and older lines of thought dissipating into neural limbo. I read into the night, while crickets chirped away from a distance, recalling that sound traveled faster at night, another sign of my changing neural scenery. The knowledge processes tend to be taxing in terms of attention and effort in fast-paced activities such as in city life, and individuals face many competing cognitive and emotional needs, especially in work and school settings.

It was the second day I arose to the tweeting of birds in their morning orchestra, feeling highly relaxed and mentally at peace, the sun was shining. I made organic tea and sat on the porch chair with my sandwich transfixed at the squirrels that seemed to be arguing on the mathematics of food storage, it was autumn, winter was upon us, darting off into the thicket. The riot of colors displayed as the sun glinted off the autumnal leaves on the trees was a scintillating study. After finishing my breakfast, I took the axe and assumed myself lumberjack for that part of the morning, making sure the wood was properly axed for the fire that night. The lifting of the axe, moving in curvy vogue above my head was quite the emotional and physical rush, at first the first few attempts at splitting the wood did not happen smoothly, but within no time, I was effectively an expert.

The thoughts of my phone, computer, trying to crowd into my thoughts, but the physical work precluded them from entry. Self-reliance, I began thinking, was not just a matter of financial independence, but a loftier ideal in which the soul plays an active role in the experience of reality, which so often the media blurs and enhances simultaneously. Armed with such thoughts, I rushed into the cottage to pick my journal and immediately enacted those thoughts into it, an addendum to the previous night. It appears spontaneity was the order of the day; time like a river was flowing into its infinite ebb, I must eat fish for dinner I thought, so taking the fishing paraphernalia, I rushed off into the cacophony of forestry. I remember sliding off a tree bark and cutting my arm, but I experienced no pain, washed it at the river and fished.

Night came and the dawn light tore through the darkened sky, it was the third day. The withdrawal symptoms were in full gear, particularly my gaming consoles, I missed them terribly.  The neurological and psychological basis of gaming was quite familiar to me, the emotional high after winning or vice versa, and the adrenalin release of an intense moment. I was in stupor for most of the day, experiencing actual physical fatigue, only waking up to feed myself. The fatigue, in retrospect, was a combination of that day’s activities, but mostly from the media-withdrawal.

The fourth day was full of vim and verve; I went hiking into the expanse of the forestry, trying to assimilate myself into the imagery presented before my person. Strange sounds echoed in the dome of the forest, harmonizing into an able symphony. With each sound, I tried to guess the animal that made it, I was not quite successful most of the time, but I did make quite a few correct guesses.  When I returned home, I was truly happy, feeling myself an explorer who had just discovered some previously-unknown biological phenomena.

I remember jotting down notes for each animal and plant I saw, even without knowing its actual scientific name, just its characteristics. On a later date, I made sure I acquired the knowledge. The fifth and the sixth day were spent in quite study and gardening. During those times I remembered what Cicero had said that a library and a garden is all that one needed. Psychologically, the triumph of mind over my addiction to media elevated me into a heightened psychological state that allowed me to access higher levels of consciousness, fancies that only the best of poetry is capable or the highest of mathematical abstraction.

The seventh day came and I awoke to a misty morning, it was eerie, all too Dickensian, and I felt myself a veritable David Copperfield. Before leaving, I went for a walk to reminisce of what had transpired throughout the seven-day experiment. Being part of the digital generation where a fundamental difference increases in the way our brains are evolving with previous generations, meaning the brains develop shortcuts in accessing information. I appreciated the actual non-media way of accessing information. I believe the complementary balance between the two approaches will promote positive neurological development. Precisely, it was a period of developing the brain’s capability of mindfulness.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Stefan Wolf
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