insatiable mind



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What we normally call "fasting" is a food fast. But we intake other things besides food. We ingest information, for example. And a fast from information can bring similar benefits for the mind that food fasting gives the body.

So I suggest you occasionally go for a whole day or a week or even a month on an information fast: No books, no movies or tapes, no magazines. And no internet (set up an automatic response first). Except what is required by your job.

An information fast has the same effect on your life as a food fast, but in a different sphere. Food fasting often changes a person's relationship with food, for the better. Simpler food tastes better. After fasting, a few berries tastes like a banquet of the gods. You no longer need the intense artificial stimulation of sugary, fatty, salty foods. In fact, you have a new repulsion to them. You can feel their unwholesomeness.

Something similar can happen after an information fast. You will be more satisfied with simple information. You no longer need the intense artificial stimulation of news programs or the titillation of novels. Simple, useful information feels like a banquet.

Think about something: You normally ingest an enormous number of memes (units of information) — more than is good for you. It would do you some good to go without for awhile. It would be more natural. Do you think hunter-gatherers got much information? I don't think so. They spent most of their time interacting with people, doing physical activities, observing the real world, and thinking — all of which would be good for you. And all of which you will find yourself doing during an information fast. And all of which would make you happier.

Memes are competing for your attention. You can't keep up. You will never be able to keep up. There is far more than you can hold. It is multiplying out of control, and you have your own brain's prewiring to seek information combined with advertisers, program directors, writers, webmasters, and so on all doing their best to get their memes into your mind. Give yourself a break. Get some perspective. Take a meme fast. 

learn more about memes

Author: Adam Khan
author of the books, Self-Help Stuff That Works and Antivirus For Your Mind
and creator of the blog:
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