The Hunger to Consume

I have found that throughout my life I am always consuming something. That, in itself, sounds horribly awkward, so let me explain to you exactly what I mean.

I don’t mean this:

man eats evidence while getting arrested

I don’t entirely mean this either, but I could because of how much I love sleep:

What I mean is I am always consuming some sort of media or knowledge. As humans, this is something that we naturally do. We are curious creatures, born to travel the Earth and past it to discover how everything works together, how the Universe itself can exist and function, and how we can function within it. It’s marvelous to think about really, knowing how small we are in a space so utterly gigantic. To me, it’s a wonder we’re not completely lost. But I digress.

Largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image constructed

Largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image constructed. Image of our neighbor, Andromeda galaxy.

Why exactly is it that we enjoy binge-watching TV shows, for example? What propels us to push forward to that next episode even when it’s six in the morning–apparently I stay up late very often–and we can hear the birds start to chirp and see the sun come up? (That’s when you know you done messed up, by the way. To those who are tragically unaware of the reference, watch this short Key & Peele skit.)

Well, if it is interesting to say the least, we want to know more. We want to discover where the plot leads, what other complications occur and how those characters will proceed to resolve their issues. Could it also be because we recognize ourselves in those characters and the situations they face? Could it be that the way they solve their problems are similar to the way we solve our similar problems? This may be why we’re frustrated with a show when characters make the same mistakes we may have made, and why we’re cheering them on and rejoicing when they’re on the right path. Sometimes, we watch how it all plays out because we don’t know how to resolve the situation, and we watch for an insight or advice.

See, I recently started watching The Walking Dead (as I referenced in my last post). I found that the reason I fell so in love with that show–besides the fact that I would never know which character was going to die next–was the characters’ interactions and how they dealt with their surroundings. The characters would often have to make very difficult decisions just to survive. (If you haven’t watched The Walking Dead and don’t want any spoilers, I would skip the next paragraph. Otherwise, keep reading).

SPOILER ALERT: One of the most painful decisions is when Rick, the group’s leader, has to choose between the safety of his best friend and the safety of the group. Rick has to make a calm and controlled decision, which is understandably difficult to do when zombies, or the walking dead, could come in herds and eat you till there’s not a trace left at any time. He understands that he cannot put the safety of one person against the safety of an entire group, especially when his best friend is the one causing difficulties that are impeding their survival. He, with regret but also without, chooses the group. He has to deal with the emotional aftermath for the rest of the season, and it almost hurts to watch. It’s almost horrible to think about, a betrayal of ethics and morality of sorts, to put myself into his shoes and realize what I would do in his situation. But I wanted to watch him make the decision (and I simultaneously wished he didn’t have to) but I wanted to know how he would handle the situation, in case, as crazy as it sounds, I would ever have to make such a decision myself. I needed to know how he would handle the aftermath of utter devastation, because although the decision would be very difficult, I believe the aftermath would be worse. Now he has to live with what he has done. SPOILER END

In case you didn’t read the spoiler, here’s a theoretical example: If I had to save one of two of my loved ones, I would not know what to do. How in the world could I possibly make a choice such as that one? To even ponder the idea may be a betrayal in itself. There’s the practical side and the emotional side that would come together to help me make that decision, but if they war, they leave me despairingly confused. If I followed my practical side, I would have to suffer from the emotional effects of such a decision in the aftermath. If I chose the emotional one, I may have to suffer through worse consequences.

We watch these TV shows to see and comprehend how it all plays out, whether to learn how to resolve the situation or to watch the characters make their own choices. We can look at these choices and decide for ourselves if these are decisions we want to make in our lives. I mean, that is the function of TV shows. It is to reach out to audiences and relate to them, and what better way to relate to them than offer imaginative scenarios that they could see themselves in?

“Hunger to consume” is just a fancy way to say that I have a voracious appetite to learn, which if you are in the SAS Honors Program, is something you likely have. An extension would be to say that I have a desire to apply this knowledge, as well. Plus, there is likely a part of us that enjoys unbalance and disarray, because routine can often get boring. I know I do at times. So, if you need a show to watch that’ll test your heartstrings, The Walking Dead is the way to go. And I also encourage you all to learn, learn something you enjoy. What do you really have to lose (other than time, really, which can honestly be justified by gain of skill)? And next time you’re going to watch a TV show, you could probably just use this as an excuse.

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One thought on “The Hunger to Consume

  1. Pingback: Television has Made its Home in Me (and I’m Okay with That). | The SAS Honors Program Blog

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