May 9, 2020

Reading versus Netflix

With so much time to spare, especially on weekends during this quarantine period, I have been deliberating ways to spend my time. There are plenty of things to do despite being confined at home.

One of the key things I like to spend my time on is learning. On weekdays, I find that 1 hour a day is more than enough, but on weekends, I find myself in a sort of absorption mode nowadays where I can spend all day learning. 

I was thinking about the various ways to absorb knowledge, and realised that there are two key ways I absorb information nowadays: reading (books, magazines, articles) or watching Netflix (documentaries, docuseries). It made me think, regardless of whether one's purpose is entertainment or to learn, is reading necessarily better than Netflix? After a few days of experimenting and reflecting on it, I found that for me, reading is better than Netflix. 

When I read, I find my imagination put to more use than while watching Netflix. There is a lot I am meant to imagine, which helps me be more creative even in hours that I am not reading. 

Even though documentaries take shorter to view than reading a full book, I find that the amount of information that reading per hour is still the same, because books tend to go into greater depth. A good way for me to gauge whether I'd like to read about a subject vs watch a movie about it is to determine how much depth I want. 

More so, I find myself emotionally and physically more exhausted after watching TV than reading. Watching TV really takes a lot of my attention and many more of my senses are involved in this process. However, while reading, it's just my sight. When I come out of reading, I generally feel less exhausted and left with more energy to do other things during the day.

When it comes to reading vs watching TV for the pure purpose of entertainment, I've had similar experiences. I tend to get very drawn into TV shows to the extent that I feel what the characters in the TV show feel. If a character in the TV show is about to get attacked, I also feel the fear that the character must feel. This takes away all my self awareness, which is why after the show ends, I am numb to other things. At times, I am impatient and expecting of more entertainment, because life suddenly seems slower now that the show isn't part of my life anymore. 

On the other hand, when I binge read, I also feel a withdrawal after reading a book, but it's not one that leaves me tired and irritable. Rather, it's one that leaves me feeling curious and enthusiastic about my next book! 

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