What knowledge about the outside world did your parents shield you from?

What an interesting question — thanks!

My parents divorced when I was barely a year old, and I bounced back and forth between them for all of my youth. Their parenting styles were very different, and they were very different kinds of people with very different interests and values, but interestingly they both tried mightily to shield me from the same thing: Television. Radio was fine, but they felt TV was corrosive. I’m not really sure why they both felt so strongly about this, and they are both gone now, so I can’t ask them. But my sense is that my mom didn’t want me exposed to violence and horror (both fictional and in the news), and my dad just thought TV was a frivolous waste of time — a trivial and valueless distraction. My mom didn’t have a TV in her home at all, and the one at my dad’s was a tiny black-and-white set that spent most of its time stored in a closet.

As a consequence, even as an adult, when a TV is turned on in a room I am mesmerized by it. I can’t hold a conversation with someone or really even take my eyes off the screen. I’m fascinated! I never got into the habit of watching much TV — perhaps one or two shows during the 90’s when I was living alone. Even then, I always found the advertising very invasive and frustrating, and would usually turn off the show I was watching as the frequency and duration of commercials increased towards the end of the show.

One of my primary recreational activities, however, was watching movies in the theater. Oh boy did I love movies! And now that digital streaming is available I do gobble up movies from my living room couch.

But as for broadcast TV, or even cable, I just don’t watch anything they offer except occasional news broadcasts.

My 2 cents.

Do you enjoy being the center of attention? Is it important that your work is recognized?

I think those are two separate things. Years ago, when I was in a traveling theatre troupe, I wanted our production to be appreciated; that is, I did want the audience to be engaged…spellbound even…during the performance. And sure…I wanted them to pay attention to me when I was on stage - and to my fellow actors while they were on stage. But after the performance, I really didn’t want to interact with the audience at all. I loathed afterparties or meet-and-greets. The fawning, praise, false sense of intimacy…I found it viscerally repulsive. And I think this speaks to a very clear difference between having one’s efforts appreciated in context, and becoming “the center of attention” is a social situation. Those are two very different experiences, and they’ve provided a repeating contrast throughout my life. For example, when I have taught classes, I really enjoy becoming a facilitator of discussion, drawing people into it, exciting new conceptions or angles on a given topic, and synthesizing meaningful conclusions from group input - I really love doing that. But again, after class, when students approach me to offer their excitement or appreciation around my teaching style (rather that the topic itself), I try to be gracious but I am actually really, really uncomfortable.

Recently, I entered an essay contest. I haven’t done that in nearly thirty years, though this habit was part of my attempt to “become a writer” in my twenties. :-) In any case, the same dynamic is in play with writing efforts as well: I’d really like to be heard - I want folks to read what I write - but I don’t particularly enjoy a lot of attention after-the-fact. As the months have dragged on since I submitted my essay last November (some six months ago now), I find myself a little disgruntled that I haven’t heard any status on the contest. Is it because I wanted to win? Not particularly, no…it’s actually because I want my ideas to be heard, to be discussed, to influence discourse around a topic I care about. And that can’t happen if my essay is sitting in a closed office in someone’s read-me pile, instead of shared on my website, on FB, here on Quora, via Academia.edu etc. Which is why most of my books and essays are downloadable for free - here again, it’s nice to make money off of books sales, which to a small degree reflects some recognition of and attention to my work, but if people buy my books and don’t read them, that would be pretty pointless, right? So again it’s more about engagement and synthesis in the noosphere. That’s what really excites and sustains me.

Obviously the same phenomenon occurs on Quora. Although I can’t be sure that all of the “views” are actual full-length reads of my posts, it’s the “views” rather than the “likes” that I pay most attention to over time. More than that, when people engage me on Quora by posting comments or questions on my posts, I’m thrilled. I really enjoy immersing myself in a back-and-forth on complex topics. But if that turns into a love fest of mutual praise…well, that’s always nice but it doesn’t facilitate synthesis. It’s often just “preaching to the choir” as it were (again…this can feel nice or affirming…but it isn’t what motivates me to write).

This was a bit of a stream-of-consciousness data-dump…but hopefully I’ve made a useful distinction here.

My 2 cents.

From Quora post: https://www.quora.com/Do-you-enjoy-being-the-center-of-attention-Is-it-important-that-your-work-is-recognized/answer/T-Collins-Logan