Conscious consumption

Conscious consumption

If you watch an older movie, you immediately realize that the narration speed used to be slower. A film from the 90s seems immediately lame. Even without being a film expert, we feel it subconsciously. In recent years, life in all areas has become many times faster.


I never thought that this "getting faster" phenomenon is so advanced. After all, I can only look back on around 35 years of conscious media consumption. And thinking back, I see big differences that will affect our consumption of culture in general.


I would like to explain this in more detail on the example of music. I know every song by the band The Cure because I used to own every one of their albums. I put the records on, sat down in my armchair and listened. I might have had a drink or read the lyrics to the songs if they were on the album.

I haven't done anything else while enjoying their music. Time just passed and I consciously devoted myself to music. I let my mind wander and this activity didn't feel boring to me.

Today we often listen to music on the side, constantly having earphones on. We no longer have a CD collection, but everything is served digitally by our streaming subscription.

Don't get me wrong, I love digital media and never liked CD racks in the living room anyways.

Conscious seeing is important

But the principle of constant consumption is the same with pictures. We have access to way too many photographs through the internet. We don't even know when and where something will be updated and are simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of images.

This drives us to platforms like Instagram, where we frantically scroll the endless timeline. A never-ending timeline causes extreme frustration for me. Have you ever felt the same way?

How much time do we take today to look at a picture? If we stay with the Instagram example, it is less than one second per photo on average. Ok, the photos are also very small. But only one second per picture is really very little.

Seen from a cultural perspective, the digitization of media primarily lead to an unbelievable sensory overload.

Scrolling on Instagram is like eating fast food at best. Definitely not healthy. And you're not really satisfied afterwards either.

And that's a shame! I wish that we would take the time on a weekend to leaf through a coffee table book. Consciously enjoying photos. And I am saying this without having a book for sale right now.

I simply fear that we lose part of our culture if we don't go back an start consciously seeing and enjoying media again.