After spending the latter part of my spring break in front of the TV I think I may have come to understand “E Unibus Pluram” in a different more personal light. Don’t judge me, I don’t normally stare at the boob tube for intense amounts of time, but I was at my friends house and blah blah blah. We were being “voluntary shut ins.” We were avoiding the “psychic costs of being around other humans” (22).
After we finished the last episode of Big Love and I was alone in my room I felt drained, empty. Maybe it was because I knew I was heading back to school (this whole concept of “last semester senior” is really sinking in) and I don’t feel especially motivated to do work that should really be a pleasure. TV, like everything that unplugs your brain, puts off you problems. Even though your brain activity is lower when watching TV than while sleeping, I imagine a part of the brain still on and gnawing at problems in circles. (I know this isn’t exactly an epiphany moment, but as my title suggests this is just something I’ve been thinking about.)
The most significant part of the tribute Kathleen wrote and read to us in class is DFW’s feeling that fiction fully used his brain. He was so mentally unlazy and I really admire that. In order to do something well it must become like a meditation and one’s mind must be harnessed.
In our examination of Infinite Jest we’ve identified the theme of escape and release (in the masturbation, drug use and tennis). Those three aspects of the character’s lives illustrate that ways in which they’ve tried to control their brain. This reminded me of: “it is statistically easier for low-IQ people to kick an addiction than it is for high-IQ people” (203). I’m fond of the expression “her mind was not her friend” because it reveals a common difficulty, especially among the more bright folks.