22 November, 2009

Time to think!

I have to say, that I'm really surprised and happy the way my autumn has been timewise. No programming courses and a more sensible allocation of my time has meant, that I've had the most free time in the past couple of years! It has really made me see things from a new viewpoint, at least to some extent.

I've noticed that more free time allows me to process things more deeply and thoroughly. Regarding school courses, it means I can, if the subject interests me, devote more time to course projects, thus actually learning something in the process as well. Previously, I had to do projects in a rush, never really getting into the subject. That meant that it was mainly a waste of time and resources, as I never had the time to actually learn about it, I just completed the task, handed out the paper and got back to other coursework.

This time, the Stanford Prison Case, for example, was a totally different deal. I had the pleasant opportunity do devote about 8-10 hours to that project, and it meant I actually learned the concepts along the way, and got at least a decent understanding about the Prison Experiment as a whole. Math has also been more fun than last year, as now I can go back to interesting parts if I feel like it, and don't just have to complete the excercises to pass the course.

To recap, more free time equals more free thinking. Really makes things a lot more interesting and rewarding! And life in general more fun and relaxed :)

09 November, 2009

Entertainment for the masses

We're living in a very normative world, have you noticed that? Just look at the society: everybody wears the same clothes, reads the same news, watches the same TV programs. It took me a long time to realize it, but this autumn has really revealed how bad the situation is.

Take almost any TV series, and you'll quickly note a couple of things. Firstly, the show is probably made in USA. It's probably comedy. And it probably lacks any real meaning. Yes, I like Friends as well, but can you really claim that it has any deeper meaning, that it really teaches anything? I can't. Or how about reality-tv? The same bullshit, but with a reduced level of fun. Watching people I've never heard of before getting wasted, taking a shower, embarrassing themselves on stage or whatever does sound pretty stupid, when you think of it. Isn't it a bit cheap to laugh at other's mistakes, because we're really all the same! I do stupid things as well when I'm drunk, I shower, I make a fool of myself - it's all the same! But suddenly, when you're doing the 'acting', it ain't that fun anymore...

The world is a mystery, and the human nature is that we want to make sense of that mystery. Have you ever seen a 5-year-old asking all the time "Why, mother?". Have you ever wondered, why we lose that ability? I blame it on society. Our daily life is filled with TV soap operas, magazines telling stories nobody really cares about, all that stuff - I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. They all create a steady stream of information that our brain keeps processing, thus eliminating the possibility of actual creative thinking in our everyday life. It's easy, and it ensures the survival of the status quo. It's all just bullshit that keeps our brains running on low capacity, so we won't start questioning anything.

I'm really not a conspiracy theorist; I don't think that it's an evil governmental ploy to keep us in line. It is a cage we have built for ourselves; I really believe that it hinders our capacity to look beyond, to see what's going on in the world. Why live the relationships in soap operas as a bystander instead of getting out and having a life of your own? Why care so much of the characters inside that big box (or even a flatscreen) and so little of yourself?

Despite all of the above, I don't think TV or even TV series are all just crap. There are some good ones, that actually have a message to tell. They can even be funny! I can't tell which series to watch, because it all depends on the person. If you like history, watch a historical show and pick up a few little details on the French revolution. If you like ethical dilemmas, watch House and try to see the moral guidelines behind the decisions. But more importantly, change the way you watch TV. Don't just let your brain doze off! Keep asking "why?" even when watching TV. Try to see the reasons behind the characters' actions, learn a new expression in a foreign language, whatever suits you. But please, don't become another mentally mummified victim of the entertainment industry.