I have always been fascinated by the topic of mental saturation. It’s the idea that you can manipulate your own thoughts, perceptions of the world, habits, and inclinations simply by choosing what you consistently expose your mind to.
A friend of mine once complained to me about nightmares she was having. We got talking about the content of her nightmares, and the possible contributors to her nighttime anxiety manifested in the world of her dreams. It didn’t take long for us to stumble into conversation about her love of horror movies.
As I write these words, Superman is staring at me. The original Superman movies were fairly cheesy, but a friend of mine gave me a Superman poster along with a single clip from an old movie reel from the film. I hung it in my office as inspiration to pursue goodness and to do my best at heroically serving others. I swore off horror films long ago.
My friend and I talked about my decision not to watch horror movies. To her, horror films represent the highest form of art. She loves the idea of striving for the most creative and dark forms of gruesome torture. However, as we got talking about the way she routinely saturates her mind with thoughts of malevolence and death, she couldn’t help but agree that she may predispose herself to more vivid nightmares than would be typical for someone who grew up on a farm two hundred years ago.
The fact is, these days we have far more choices about what we will expose our minds to. The world has changed. If you do not consciously adjust the stream of information entering your mind, you put yourself at risk. There is an endless stream of videos, magazines, websites, books, movies, and other mediums that allow me to focus in on any narrow subject I wish.