television thrown in a junk pile

For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a path declining steadily toward lowest-common-denominator standards … the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less.
-Steven Johnson (author of Everything Bad is Good For You)

Business has a concept called Opportunity Cost. This is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

It is simple enough to apply this to content.

I can only read one book at a particular moment. So what books am I not reading while I’m trudging through volume 8 of a series I’ve lost interest in?

Rather than let this paralyse you with too much choice, embrace it as a free pass to walk away. You don’t have to finish every movie you start, or watch every super hero show, or follow every Star Trek series.

Our limits are time, attention, and money.

Money is an imaginary limitation, to be honest. The library is a short walk from my house and has books, comic book collections, and movies for free. Setting aside the cost of internet and a device, the internet has a bottomless well of free content.

This leaves time and attention.

Read more