No more junk for the mind

19 February 2013 / Leave a Comment
The other night I broke one of my accupuncturist's rules. 'People with your condition must get at least 8 hours sleep,' he is known to say to me. So I try my hardest to get my 8 hours of sleep a night, give or take an hour here and there when one child decides to wake up at an unfortunate time. But the other night, it was my fault, I sat on the couch, way past my bedtime, watching a double episode of a reality TV show. In the morning I felt guilty and gross, like I'd just eaten a cheeseburger and fries, and I wondered why I'd done that to my mind and body.

Not only had I stayed up past my curfew, but I'd filled my mind with junk, and this is something that I haven't done for over a year. It wasn't that it was a conscious decision to abstain from shows like this, it's just that I've found other things I enjoy doing far more. Lately, I haven't even been able to sit through a whole movie, unless I thought it was absolutely fantastic, and wasn't better than the book I was currently reading. It seems that I've gotten somewhat impatient with anything short of my idea of brilliance.

I've got such a hunger for things that will inspire me, that I no longer want to waste my time on junk. In the last couple of weeks I've discovered John Cheever's The Swimmer, Kafka's The Hunger Artist and Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. If I'd been languishing on the couch in front of the TV, I would never have read those marvellous works.

The problem is, people can go whole lifetimes without discovering literature or art that enlightens them.

We have witnessed a healthy eating movement. We have seen Jamie Oliver go into people's houses who live off frozen food and don't know what an avocado is and enlighten them on how to cook fresh food that is good for the body. Millions of people around the world watch these shows and think, oh yes, perhaps we should eat something green and from the ground.

What we need is a Jamie Oliver equivalent, that can show people that they don't just have to read supersized books, with embossed silver lettering on the front cover, bought from stores like Kmart. They can introduce variety into their reading diet, short stories, novellas, poetry and books without a murder, vampire or steamy sex scene. We should all feed our minds with a balanced assortment of titles, that exercise our brain, stretch our minds and build a healthy outlook on life.


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