I spent much of this week trying to think of a topic for the next post in this series. Then, as is typical, it hit me and was as clear as could be. After having picked up my second coffee of the day from a fast-food drive-thru, the light bulb went off.
Almost every work day I trust other people, from the moment I leave my house to the minute I lock my front door at night. What do I know about any of the people who make the food I buy; who share the road with me at 70+ miles an hour; who live their lives in the same world of semi-interaction? And even more relevant, would I want to know more?
There’s a comfort that comes from ignorance which seems universal. I’m a happier person because I’m able to let things go, trusting that those around me will act in a responsible fashion. I trust that those who make my coffee in the morning aren’t adding in a bit of cat urine. Those around me trust that I’m not going to test my crash-dummy skills on the highway.
Unfortunately, this trust is why some events are so quick to make the news. When someone breaks that trust it’s a temporary shock to the system. Think of the stunned silence that rolled across the country after Gabby Giffords‘ shooting. However, even when someone breaks the trust in as emphatic and tragic a manner as Giffords’ shooter, we still fall quickly back into the same trust we held before, with a slightly more cautious manner.
Just for a moment, think of all the things we trust others to handle. Don’t dwell too long though, paranoia is no one’s friend.
“There is no way to be completely happy without being oblivious to the world around you.” ~ Maredith Close
This will be the first in a new series of posts related to taking a step back and reflecting on various aspects of life. A previous post, Introspection in America, actually was the informal first post.
On a day like today, Super Bowl Sunday, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and festivities. I’ve been the norm since I was young – Super Bowl parties, too much to drink, etc. The same can be said for the World Cup, March Madness, and regular season Colts games (with the exception of this year due to their poor play all around).
This morning was abnormally warm for Indiana so I spent some time outside watching my dog play in the back yard. He can spend hours by himself out there, chasing squirrels or shadows and flinging sticks around. This morning it occurred to me just how much entertainment he creates for himself and just how little most of us create for ourselves.
Our need for external entertainment is astounding, especially visual. Think about it. We have multi-million dollar athletes because they “entertain” us for a few months. We buy into the games like we’re the ones playing and if our team wins, what do we really get from the experience? Pride in our team? Really? We get to feel that we’re part of a crowd, all entertained by the same overpaid players. What will that team ever really do for us but take our money and our time?
The same can be said of movies and television. We’re entertained for a couple of hours, or if the story is especially moving it may stick with us for a while, but what of those actors in movies? Are they really worth the crazy amounts of money that they burn through everyday? From a marketing and business standpoint, absolutely. Because the better the actor, the more they fulfill our need to be entertained. From a realistic standpoint… Not likely. And even worse, what about those reality show debacles that have run rampant for the past 10 years?
And as Mark Zuckerberg takes his monstrosity public, he puts a monetary figure on one piece of the next juggernaut in external entertainment, all based on a figment of our collective imaginations. Much of the populace has the self-delusion that online friendships are the same, or even better, than those interpersonal relationships we have with those around us. I could write for days on this point.
Watching my dog in the backyard made me realize that we’ve lost touch with our grasp of what entertainment should really be or do. It should be something that makes us think; helps us create! It’s amazing how much visual entertainment differs from listening to the radio or reading. A good novel will absorb a reader in a way that no movie or television show can. You feel the characters’ successes or failures, sense the world their in, and ultimately use the writers’ words as the framework for creating that world in your mind.
Beginning next weekend, try something new. Opt for a Silent Sunday – no movies, no Youtube or Facebook and definitely no Housewives of Brainlessville. Read, write, enjoy nature… whatever it takes to entertain yourself. It’ll be awkward at first, but persevere. You’ll be happy you did.
As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated.