I like to watch people when traveling by public transport. I like to watch their mimics, their interactions, their actions. What I noticed is that while quite many do something, like listening to music, reading, browsing mobile phones, one of the trends has been to peer into a free newspaper that is given out at the metro entrances. There are days when I can see almost half of the people around me reading that free of charge stuff. Although this may see more useful than doing nothing on the way to work, such a habit is not healthy at all in my opinion.
Consider a food analogy here. If you want to eat well and healthy, you would choose carefully which groceries to buy, which places to eat out, or would even start cooking yourself. Once in a while, if you’re in a hurry or lazy, or both, you would buy fast-food to make things easier. There is a general public agreement, however, that the quality of junk food leaves much to be desired. The same applies to information. Swallowing a free of charge piece of yellow press is like having a meal at McDonalds’s or Burger King: fast, cheap, and harmful. Reading more serious press takes effort (and money too), but ultimately keeping you mental body fit and healthy is as important as the physical one.
Talking about keeping your mind fit, nothing can be compared to reading a book. Even in the post-industrial age with revolutionary development of mass media a book remains the most powerful source of learning. After all, we are on this planet to learn, aren’t we?