This is all relevant because with the internet, you not only have complete control over what you consume, but also the medium through which you consume it.
It strikes me that some media, much like pre-streaming television, are optimized to grab and hold attention, as much as possible, whatever the cost. They were basically clickbait before clickbait.
But then there are media—long-form podcasts, well-written streamed television, some (but not all) video games, etc.—that are like reading. They encourage sustained attention, challenging you with powerful new concepts or unique imagery.
McLuhan wrote at a time when there was little choice of media. You had a few TV channels and the local paper and that was it. As a result, the medium of information/entertainment that dominated at the time, largely dictated the contours of culture.
But today, there is a Las Vegas buffet of informational media to choose from. If you want to learn about meditation, there are Instagram stories, YouTube videos, podcasts, tweetstorms, or long-form written explainers. It’s a veritable pupu platter of media, hot and steaming and ready to go.
This is why I call the struggle around choosing media “The Attention Diet,” and not “The Attention Regimen,” or “The Attention Curriculum,” or whatever. When you eat something, that food literally generates the cells that compose your body. So if you eat crap for long enough, your body becomes… well, kinda crappy.
Similarly, when you choose what media to consume, you are choosing your future thoughts and perspectives and opinions. And if you choose poorly, you will think poorly. It’s not just that you are what you eat. You are everything that you consume.