Causes, Effects, Lurking Variables, and Brainrot

June 26, 2010 at 11:13 pm (Making Sense of Things) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve noticed a change in four variables since a week back, and I am trying to determine which were the causes, and which were their effects.

First though, an allude on lurking variables. For those unaware, if event A precedes event B, for example if Obama becomes PotUS and the economy crashes, event A is not necessarily the cause for event B. In the example, Obama’s inauguration was actually a lurking variable, while ineffective previously established banking policy was the actual cause.

Anyway. The two main things that I observed were that 1) I lost my creative spark, and 2) I started playing EVE Online on a trial account.

Which brings me back to the topic title. Playing EVE seemed to me the cause, and ceasing to write the effect. However, I had continued playing DotA while I had been writing, and I had also played DotA without writing through most of college. I had to wonder what else had been different.

Which brings me to the other two things. I 3) stopped listening to audiobooks, and 4) stopped wanting to do things, like going to the beach or walking the dog at night.

I did not listen to audiobooks during the school year, but I did read books during previous summers. I also wrote during previous summers, as well as during my audiobook listening period this summer. Since playing video games, if not EVE specifically, does not directly correlate to my writing stints, whereas book reading of some kind does, I’m going to tie those two together.

That leaves EVE and my lack of drive – and those two I’ve observed not only in myself but also in some WOW addictions that I’ve seen. Moral of the story? If you want to spend your free time playing video games (like me), don’t do it. Go out to a bar, go race some toy cars, go pick some cherries – but don’t play EVE or WOW or even LOL. Any game where you make progress is simply pulling you further in: good marketing doesn’t correlate with a good product (see: Microsoft, Apple, etc)

In introspecting on these variables on the beach with my dad this morning I stumbled onto a related doozy: video killed the radio star. More importantly however, video kills the imagination. The ambiguity of the 1000 words that a picture can substitute forces for the reader to imagine their own image of whatever is being described, thereby revving the imagination engine. Video, however, provides a single interpretation which requires absolutely no creative juices to be running. It’s great to relax on, but it doesn’t stimulate the mind the way books (written or audio) do. Watch movies, but read books too, especially if you’re suffering from writer’s/artist’s/filmmaker’s block.

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