The Netflix binge to me is one of our generations prime examples of “I want what I want when I want it…now gimme”. Our whole society is based around instant gratification, that’s nothing new. I think the understated issue is that we have become more and more accepting of this culture of immediacy in small covert ways. Like, the Netflix binge.

I’m guilty of it. In fact, I’m guilty of it on a routine basis. If I’m doing a work task that doesn’t require creative energy, I’m most likely binging on a series or documentaries on Netflix (or some other online media streaming subscription service.)

I think the thing that is lost on some people about this specific kind of vice is the expectation it creates in other parts of our lives. I’m trying to figure out the best way to explain it in writing. And, I think that the closest I can get to what I see as a slippery slope of expectation is by walking through the worst case scenario of this process point by point:

  • Watch an episode of a show on Netflix.
  • That was so good—I want more!!!
  • Oh, I can have that right now.
  • Watch 3 more episodes.
  • Damn gotta go or gotta sleep. Pause binge for now.
  • Repeat above process and watch the whole season within a week or two.
  • Watch all available seasons within 3-8 weeks depending on your schedule, how good the show actually is, and how much time you’re willing to spend in the Netflix binge.
  • Wonder why they didn’t think to get the rest of the seasons made all at once so that you wouldn’t now be inconvenienced by not knowing what happens to that one guy or girl next season…or worse have to read the book(s) it’s based off of…which now that you’re deep in an Internet wormhole, researching this part of the novel series plot line and trajectory, you realize that the show runners have taken unprecedented liberties with the source material. So now even IF you read the books, it might not be what actually happens in the series. AAAaarrgghhh!!!
  • You start expecting everything to be as instantaneous as your access to media.
  • You wonder why your friends, family, coworkers take more than 5 minutes to respond to an email, text, FB msg, social media post (like & share!), etc…because who calls someone on the phone anymore?
  • You constantly feel the need to be doing something, anything to stimulate your brain. The idea of sitting still and contemplating nothing hasn’t crossed your mind possibly ever. Unless you’re meditating…but then again there’s an app for that, so even then you have some stimulation.
  • Your life becomes about distractions.
  • You constantly stay distracted.
  • You’re never truly present in this moment, minute, second.
  • You live life like this.
  • You come to the end of your life and don’t even have the awareness to realize you’ve been distracted through most of it.
  • You die…and after that is anyone’s best guess depending on your particular set of beliefs.

That’s maybe not the WORST case scenario, but it’s still no bueno. And, it’s a scenario I believe is worth considering.

Simpler than that though, I have found the more I binge on media the more I am selfish and unintentional with my time. It’s a limited commodity, and filling it up with exposure to constant distractions makes me just feel discombobulated. I feel a lack of focus and direction, and I get more resentful towards things that take up my time. Even if those things happen to be really important parts of my job, artistic pursuits, or personal life. That is no good at all, and is my biggest reason for including this on my vice list.