Smart Procrastination: Turn Your Facebook Feed into a Good Read
When somebody asked Elon Musk how he learned to build rockets, the 40-something year old magnate frowned with surprise. I read books, he said.
What an ingenious thought! Everything there is or ever was, plus a little bit of what will be lays written not in the stars, but in actual letters. And, my fellow wannabe successful friends, it’s now pretty much a click away.
The problem? We live in a packaging-obsessed world. The brand is the only unique selling point, and the format is how we choose our content. If it doesn’t pop, it’s missed. If it isn’t about cats, who cares? I know I don’t.
But then, there are those days when your Facebook Feed plays nicer than usual. Having caught you off guard with a mind-boggling headline, it suddenly reveals its true depths through Related Articles. One read after another, and you’re already a rocket scientist.
Learning is fun, it turns out.
Here’s how to manipulate this mindless bastard, and turn it into a cerebral experience.
Published under Idea and categorized under Ethics, Aeon’s article titled A “humanely” killed animal is still killed — and that’s wrong perfectly sums up everything you’ll love about this unforgiving digital magazine. While others bother with out-of-the-box thinking, Aeon’s writers focus on square one.
Apart from the obvious — science, psychology, health, society, technology, and culture — Aeon collects tiny gems of historical wisdom and religious rubies as well. The Metaphysics section (one of my absolute favourites) unveils why imagination is so powerful and how come philosophers fear it.
Too lazy to read? That’s fine, just watch a tree completing its annual cycle together with its animal visitors. Have some existential questions, like If I teleport from Mars, does the original me get destroyed? The answer is a wonderful thought experiment, just like the Aeon magazine itself.
Refine the Mind’s Jordan Bates is a one-man-band. He writes about everything from self-growth and mindfulness (The Irrefutable Reason Why You Owe It to Yourself to Refine Your Mind, which I believe counts as the blog’s manifesto) to space colonization and Haruki Murakami’s haunting surrealism.
Clearly influenced by both the existential dread of today’s digitalized world and the utopian promise of a more humane tomorrow, Bates contemplates our burning need for altruism at times from an agnostic, at times from a mystical standpoint. And, there are comics, memes, and fiction too.
If we’re anything alike, you’ll enjoy Rilke’s Definition of a Good Relationship & Why Love Is the Most Difficult Thing — not because it’s thought-provoking and profound, but because Bates here exploits all the advantages of a personal blog, showing us that it’s not only the mind that needs refinement.
Even when repacking evergreen content that you already know by heart (9 Toxic Habits That Are Killing Your Creativity), High Existence is a replenishing trip into consciousness. It rekindles your neurons with remindful art, then sets them ablaze with liberating truth-bombs (The Meaning of Life Is That It Stops).
On a similar note, High Existence dissects modern-day fascination with psychedelics, and compares it to Nietzsche’s excursions into the unknown. Then, it takes some time to tackle benefits of cold showers, right before it picks Stanley Kubrick’s brain in an attempt to see if life’s worth living.
And, since High Existence doesn’t joke around, the magazine brims with eye-opening quotes, podcasts and discussion boards as well. It was, after all, developed for creative philosophers as it was for practical entrepreneurs, which makes it one hell of an eclectic read.
The Future of Life Institute actually comes with a mission statement and a board of scientific advisors. Elon Musk is there, and so are Stephen Hawking and Morgan Freeman, just to name a few. Academic as it is, FLI’s publication transcends both the popular and the scientific, and explores the basics of life.
Also, like the Institute itself, the magazine is focused on developing optimistic visions for the future. What this means is that, whether you’re looking for lifestyle tips or experimental essays, FLI won’t indulge you with either. Its focal point are news, predominantly those following new technologies.
You’ll read about AI, biotech, nuclear findings, and the climate. You’ll explore whether or not artificial intelligence should be regulated, learn the way we can harness the energy of the Sun, taste how the nuclear winter really feels like, and understand the vicious cycle of ocean currents and global warming.
Speaking of FLI’s legitimate obsession with artificial intelligence, one of the recent articles from Big Think takes you straight to the digital void of The First Track of the First Album Composed and Produced by AI. Filter it by Surprising Science, Personal Growth, Mind & Brain, and 4 other fab categories.
The first, Surprising Science, will both surprise you and give you a scientific explanation of the seemingly inexplicable. Take Atheists Are Nicer to Christians than Christians Are to Atheists, for instance, or Scientists Believe It’s Raining Diamonds on These Two Planets. Both puzzling, both true.
But, Big Think doesn’t dare you to think bigger only about the mysteries of our world — along with giant space objects, techno-therapy, and fake news, the magazine probes simple, everyday truths as well. This includes sexual fetishes, empathy and boredom, and before you ask, a post or two on cats.
Advertised as America’s only humour site, Cracked accepts both the metaphysical and the mundane only to give them both a gloomily sneering twist. If you tend to look at the bright side of life, skip it. If you prefer to see things for what they actually are, tell your cynical brain to tell your finger to hit like.
Especially when common knowledge and pop culture are in question, the mag does a whole lot of research in order to prove everyone wrong. The passion with which they demystify contemporary urban myths is obvious in every line; Cracked sure seem like bona fide haters, but that doesn’t mean they are not right.
Regularly published in News, What Stupid Thing Is Trending Now is a column that exhibits the magazine’s unique mixture of burning topics and their satirical mockery. Start there before you move along to paranormal phenomena, masturbation stories, insane Jurassic Park theories, and more.
Vulture is hardly an underground magazine, and it certainly isn’t a philosophical study of human existence. Every once in a while, it ranks Jennifer Lawrence performances and rants about Trump. But, it’s still one of most opinionated magazines around, which makes it one of the brightest too.
I personally loved a bold piece called Game of Thrones Has a Strange Relationship with Bodies, and not only because it dares to find fault with an otherwise perfect show. It’s because the article’s writer, and that applies to everyone on board, dares to think. Instead of curation, Vulture chooses journalism.
So, if you want to read about, say, the latest episode of Rick and Morty, you’ll learn more than where to look for Easter eggs. The magazine will give you an interpretation too, and it won’t apologise for killing your heroes and ruining your ideals. Before you devour culture, Vulture will make you chew it.
Growing a little wiser each day is fairly easy — just open your Facebook and like the good stuff. You’ll be on it for the rest of your twenties and thirties anyway, so why not use that time to procrastinate smart?