Mental Stagnation

March 21, 2013

I’ve been worrying about mental languor. It’s crept up on me slowly like some insidious mind eating creature from a nineteen eighties Doctor Who episode. Cultural and intellectual entropy has taken hold without my realising, leading me into a spiral of apathy and draining what little creativity I had. In short, I’ve stopped trying. I became aware of the problem a couple of weeks back while at work, eating the same lunch I always eat while checking the same website I always check – for the fifth time that day. I’ve allowed myself to get into a routine, something I’ve previously actively avoided.

Routine in some ways is a good helpful framework for existence, there are aspects of life which shouldn’t need constant appraisal: my son’s bedtime, where we buy our milk, how often I clean my teeth. In other areas it can really cause trouble. Without a flow of new ideas, opinions and images I stop coming up with new ideas myself, without new things to feed my mental process my problem solving skills start to wane and to some extent my intellectual processes generally drop.

In honesty I’ve always had trouble challenging myself to read and watch anything outside of my immediate area of interest and comfort (less so with music for no clear reason) and have often felt jealous of those who can just pick up a book on a new subject and dive in – I do have certain mental issues here to do with fear of failure to understand new things but there’s far too much baggage there to go into. Recently I have reached a new low, in my sparse spare time rather than learning something new I’ve been visiting the same very short list of websites none of which have very much in the way of stimulating content. I’ve made no effort to go anywhere new or do anything different outside of my daily routine. It’s killing me (mentally anyway).

Moving forward, I’ve recognised the problem and am making attempts to remedy it. There’s a world out there full of places to go, second hand bookshops, libraries, art galleries, forests, towns, museums and other things. There’s a massive internet of stuff in here, I can learn anything I want to learn and read about any subject imaginable. This is an amazing time to live in, humanity has never had more access to more information and experiences at such short notice, it’s brutally lazy to ignore these opportunities in favour of quick fixes of cheap entertainment and celebrity culture.

(This may have been partially inspired by going to see Robin Ince the other week).

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