Auden on Our Media Consumption

[Our] ease of access is in itself a blessing, but its misuse can make it a curse. We are all of us tempted to read more poetry &¬†fiction, look at more pictures, listen to more music than we can possible respond to properly, and the consequence of such overindulgence is not a cultured mind but a consuming one; what it reads, looks at, listens to, is immediately forgotten, leaving no more traces than yesterday’s newspaper.

The first prerequisite for leading any satisfactory kind of personal life in a technological society is the ability to resist distraction. Human beings are not born with this ability but, from about the age of seven onwards, we are all capable of learning to direct our attention on this rather than that, down this path not down that. This concentration of attention is to the inner life what deliberate action is to the outer.

~ W.H. Auden, from his talk “Culture and Leisure”

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