I get my best thinking done while taking a shower. There is just something about the calming white noise of the water falling, obscuring my hearing and vision, that allows me to retreat into my thoughts undistracted. Unfortunately this state of meditation lasts just a few short minutes each day. This time is precious. I feel the need to increase my shower time. But how can I do so without wasting gallons of water and turning into a prune each day?
The first step is cutting back on media consumption. Ever since my first job out of college (where I met Curzon) I have been training to be a voracious media consumer. I learned how to increase web consumption efficiency by using (hundreds of) RSS feeds. I turned my “downtime” into “productive” time by listening to lectures, audiobooks and podcasts while doing chores, commuting, etc. Everywhere I went I had my iPod plugged in. I thought I was _learning_ when I was actually just _consuming_. I was so effective at packing each minute of each day full of articles and books that I squeezed out any quiet time just to sit and think.
I have a “wide array of interests”:http://cominganarchy.com/2008/06/17/younghusbands-glorious-cloud-of-interest/, and keeping track of all of them each day snuffs out time for contemplation of the interests themselves. Keeping up to the 24-hour news cycle has always been difficult. With the proliferation of the internet “bloggers”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/technology/06sweat.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all are having an even worse time: the curse of homo mobilus. I need to get out of this arms race of information consumption and set aside some time to _truly_ process the information that is important to me.
I had a taste of this while “writing my master’s thesis”:http://cominganarchy.com/2007/06/23/information-overloaded/. During the final writing phase I became an information Spartan (iSpartan?). I was living alone in a house in the suburbs of Kingston, secluded with my thoughts. Since graduation I have lost all that precious time in the blissful freedom of post-academia. However, my contemplative life force has duly suffered. I am turning into an information consuming automaton. Consumption has been slowly robbing me of my attention. It is time to shift out of “sponge” mode and begin producing some original thought, and do so without the side-effects of semi-permanent wrinkled skin.
Darwin used to stroll along the “entangled bank.” Kaplan has his house in Massachusetts. I snatch moments of lucidity standing naked in a metal box. Where do you do take time time to think?