Monday, August 1, 2011


Anesthetic. Good for knee replacements, open heart surgery, and getting fillings. Really not good for our souls--But boy do we use a lot of them. We will do ANYTHING to not have to engage in real time with real people or real issues. Drugs and alcohol, compulsive eating, social media, and the vast array of electronic diversions.

Most of us claim that family is the most important thing in our lives, and yet too many rarely sit down and talk, play a game, or really enjoy our families. The pull of numbness is too strong--many people's 'family time' consists of dad playing a computer game while mom Facebooks and talks on her I-phone and the kids play Worlds of Warcraft on the PS3 while carrying on inane text conversations with 3 or 4 different people at a time. We act as if, when we recap our lives on our deathbeds that we're going to exclaim, "Damn, I can't go yet. I missed Season 6, Episode 22 of "The Bachelor!"


Both intellectually and in our hearts, I think we all know that we're lost in this anesthetic abyss, but we're kind of scared to tune back in. It might be a spiritual hog wallow, but it's ours, and it's grown comfortable.
I've believed for a long time that if people just shut down the electronics and other numbing devices for one hour a day and did something productive, or at least together, some seriously good stuff would happen here in the USA. Not only do our 'electronic drugs' shut off virtually all higher thought, but the vast majority of shows and electronic diversionary devices that are popular are not just numbing, they're negative. Too many commercials telling us we can't be happy with what we've already got. Too many people doing degrading stuff for reality game shows. Too much jiggle and violence and blood and guts and crude humor. Of course to avoid that, you could turn over to news, where you can get your fill of gloom and doom, politicians calling each other evil instead of just disagreeing on policy, multiple wars, fear mongering of all sorts, and garden variety murders. Wow. What an uplifting way to spend an evening--much less every evening.

My family and I got rid of TV several years ago. When I proposed this, you would have thought I'd suggested we all cut off a limb, but it was only painful for a bit, and it's been a great thing for our lives. We watch a very limited number of shows on the internet. We usually spend at least an hour an evening talking or playing cards or a game. I'm not going to suggest that is the right thing for everyone. But maybe you could try an experiment. Get your family all in the living room and turn off the tube, computer, cell phones and video games for one hour, one time, and see how awkward it is to actually have an undistracted conversation with your family. Just realize that the more it hurts, the more you need to do it again.

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