Our brains evolved in a world where it was essential for us to take notice of anything new in our environment. Any change in our surroundings likely meant a predator, another person, or something to kill and eat. In the 21st century, our novelty-seeking instincts are getting us hooked on the constant trickle of information updates on blogs, twitter, forums, Reddit, email, phones, and so on. Children of the electronic age are entering their adult lives with mush for brains, because rather than spend their hours reading, writing, socializing, building, learning, and doing, they have been clicking. Go ask someone who has just spent three hours on the internet what he has learned that is still with him – the answer is, probably nothing.
But this is all well-known to Freedom Twenty-Five readers. You know to limit your internet time, shut off the pop culture spigot, and spend the resulting free hours learning about the world, improving yourselves and accomplishing goals. You know that, rather than seek out the most recent sources of information and entertainment, you should instead seek out the best.
Why would you spend five hours reading the latest history and pop science best-sellers, the vast majority of which will be completely forgotten in a decade, if you haven’t yet read Homer, Thucydides, Plato, Shakespeare, Gibbon, Carlyle, Nock, and Burnham? The latter will be of a much higher average quality, and as a bonus, most don’t cost nuthin’. Do you think you’ll learn more reading a newspaper from 2011, or 1911? Should you watch Casablanca, or Mr. Popper’s Penguins? Should you play the latest Call of Duty, or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?
Ignoring what’s new and fresh and immediate is good for your mental health. More importantly, it frees up time to spend skimming the cream from earlier canons.
In that spirit, the next seven days will be Throwback Week here at Freedom Twenty-Five (and In Mala Fide). I’m going to honour six blogs by highlighting a selection of their classic posts. For this one week, I invite you to ignore your RSS, Twitter, and news sites. With the time you save, read these posts and browse through the authors’ archives. If you’re new to this corner of the blogosphere, I promise you there is gold to be found by digging through its past. If not, they’re still worth a re-read.
Throwback Week will begin tomorrow, and will continue through to next Sunday. Hold on to your dicks, gentlemen – shit’s about to get retro.