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Deliberating the Viewers vs. Doers concept

Viewers vs Doers Lecture

Brett & Kate McKay from artofmanliness.com recently subscribed to an idea that America has succumbed to "spectatoritis, a blanket description to cover all kinds of passive amusement, an entering into the handiest activity merely to escape boredom." -Jay B. Nash, 1938

The basic concept discussed how people can fall into one of two groups when interacting in life, the viewers and the doers. Viewers or spectators watch an activity while doers perform the said activity. For example:


  • Sports Fans
  • Audience
  • Couch Potatoes


  • Athletes
  • Musicians
  • Actors

Although the above patterns persists in the physical world, intellectual situations operate differently. For instance on the surface reading seems like a viewer or spectator task and writing appears to behave like a doer task. But what happens when a reader learns or responds to a blog post? We seem to need a stronger definition what constitutes doing a task.

We should not regard spectating as bad, however we should try to stay lucid of our current rolls when engaging in activities.

Spectating has some important purposes in our society and culture. Viewing a performance grants power to the actor, whether that person plays football or plays guitar. For this power and influence to occur a viewer must witness and pay attention to the event. What if the next great political leader took the podium and no one bothered to view his speech?

The truth is our American society has conditioned us to spend much of our lives spectating. During school a good student will view and listen to the lecture. While driving to work one radio DJ broadcasts his thoughts to many.

Spectating also plays and integral roll in learning. Human infants learn by first watching and then imitating. Experts also agree that inspiration for a creative works often occur after observation of prior productions.

tl;dr We should not battle the viewers vs the doers because both hold importance and need each other.

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© Russell Ballestrini.