There used to be a significant limit on available intake. Once you read all the books in the college library on your topic, it was time to start writing.
Now that the availability of opinions, expertise and email is infinite, I think the last part of that sentence is the most important:
Time to start writing.
Or whatever it is you're not doing, merely planning on doing.He wrote that post on January 31st. I've been thinking about it a lot since then.
Thanks to where I am in time and space, I've got access to a lot of different bits and pieces of media. I can order just about any book, recording, game, or movie on Amazon. And if I don't want to pay for it – and I don't mind only having access to it for a little while – there's a good chance I'll be able to get it for a while from the Chicago Public Library, which, as of late, has made buying books unnecessary.
And then there's Netflix. Don't even get me started on Watch Instantly. Even though the selection on that still has a way to go, there's still a lot of stuff to keep a person occupied for days and weeks at a time.
But there's still non-legal means of getting content, if you're into that sort of thing. (I prefer to get my media legally – it's usually the most convenient and best-quality solution, but no judgement calls if you're unable or unwilling to do that.) And that opens the number of books, movies, shows, albums and games that you can experience to hundreds of thousands – maybe even millions – of individual pieces of media.
Not all of it is worth bothering with, but there's a lot of really great stuff out there. Every now and then I struggle with the fact that I'm going to only experience about a percent of the great art that's ever been created. And it's not that I don't try. As a film student, I'm surrounded by students who've seen more movies than I'll ever dream of checking out. And so for every movie I watch on Netflix, I seem to add three more.
I appreciate that you and I are at a point in human history where we have access to more new experiences than any single sedentary human being has ever had access to before. I think it's pretty awesome that, if I wanted, I could click on the window behind this one and start watching any one of the 160 movies in my instant queue.
But sometimes it feels like a chore. The ever-growing number on my Amazon book wishlist and Netflix queue make me feel like I'm up against some insurmountable task – which I am, I guess. And sometimes that actually stresses me out. It makes me feel like I don't know enough. Maybe on some level it makes me acutely aware of my own mortality; that no matter how hard I try, I'm going to die with bunches and bunches of desired moments unexperienced.
And sometimes I'm afraid of just what Godin talks about in his blog post. That, because I have access to all this fantastic stuff out there, I'm spending far too much time soaking in and not enough time
Sometimes I wish that I didn't have all of this choice. But if I didn't, I'd probably be wishing that I lived in the Library of Alexandria instead.