Have you ever spent an entire afternoon watching television, reading a book, or listening to music? They’re pretty chill days and you enjoy doing them, even if you feel like you “wasted the day.” These types of activities require you to take in stimulus and synapse it to the budding neural cluster for that movie/book/song. No matter the medium, the processes are the same so we’ll use a movie as an example.
When you watch a movie, you are receiving visual and auditory information but you are also creating characters for each person in the movie. Another neural cluster regarding the plot forms as you watch and any similarities to other movies you’ve seen may stimulate other neural clusters. You’re also anticipating constantly, trying to determine what will happen next in the movie.
You are consuming the information of the movie and the synapses formed when adding to characters and anticipating will release pleasure throughout the story. Consumption is enjoyable because of all of the synapses that form. Think about some of your favorite books or movies; the most fun parts are when there is a sudden reveal of more information about a character or the plot.
Let’s pick a movie that has already been spoiled by everyone: the Sixth Sense. Throughout the movie, you are building a detailed character cluster of Bruce Willis’ character among the many clusters you’re forming. When you, the audience, find out that he’s dead the whole time, you have to adjust his character cluster and reconsider any other synapses that change with this new information. Your anticipated direction of the movie is completely thrown off but it just means you are fully engaged to fix the false anticipation. Each synapse releases pleasure, and you can bet there are billions of synapses to be formed from a single movie.
Some days you just can’t just spend watching movies because you feel like you need to do something. You might decide to draw a picture or write a story or journal entry. In this scenario, you have built up ideas in your mental plane and you need to complete those clusters in order to put them away and focus on other things. Producing something in the real world allows you to solidify a single version of that idea to share with others: words, drawings, sculptures, etc.
To better understand, imagine that a group of people need to travel across a field in order to collect water for their village. Every morning they send out the water collectors, who walk on any part of the field while crossing it. The field has plenty of brush so it takes the people awhile to cross. One day, the village people decide to lay down logs to create a single road across the field. Now everyone can use the same path and it becomes easier for everyone to cross the field.
Here, the field represents your mental plane and the people wandering around are your built up thoughts. They can change direction quickly, they can stop entirely, and they can get lost; it’s also a bit crowded with so many possible paths to take. The road represents your production of those thoughts. While you can’t include everything that was on your mind, you are able to share the thought so that others can effectively understand.
Production allows you to solidify a single neural path, thus removing the other possibilities. It also gives you extra information of what your production actually looks or sounds like using your own sensory neurons to examine it again. Completion plays a role in your drive toward production since you are able to anticipate what your idea might look like in reality and need that information.
If you were to paint a picture, you probably have an image in your mental plane of what you want to paint, but you cannot see it with your own eyes until it exists in the real world. If you make a slight mistake, that mistake is now part of the production even though it wasn’t present in your mental plane.
The process of translating thoughts to words, sounds or pictures is called cementing. A thought can be changed infinitely within your brain, but once it’s been cemented into reality, it cannot be changed without more cementing. Ideas can become cemented through art or your actions/words and it plays a large part of our socialization.
You can think whatever you like about someone but know not to say certain things aloud. When you cement your thoughts by speaking, you cannot take back the thoughts you’ve already spoken. One of the reasons it feels so good to get something off our chest is because completion leads us to want to cement our secret.
Consumption gives a release of pleasure throughout the activity since you need to keep up with synapsing the information that is presented to you. Production gives a much larger release of pleasure at the end when the neural path is cemented; the process might suck but the end result makes it all worth it.
Every conversation you have, in person or in text, involves a consumption of the words you hear or read and a production of words that you give back. You are constantly releasing small bits of pleasure as you gain more information about another person and cement information about yourself so the other person can consume it. There is a reason why conversations are pleasurable, you are constantly learning!