LET ME EXAGGERATE TO MAKE A POINT
PRACTICALLY EVERYONE IS SO BUSY BEING DISTRACTED THAT WE SEEM TO HAVE LOST THE ART OF EXECUTION (EXCEPT PEOPLE)—LET ALONE OF THINKING
HOW CAN WE REGAIN SOME SEMBLANCE OF SANITY? OR DID WE EVER HAVE IT?
Yes, I’m exaggerating. Clearly things are being done or we wouldn’t have a functioning society—and we do have that despite its imperfections. When I go to the market to buy a gallon of milk, it is normally there—and so on. When you consider the complexity of over 320 million people living together under one flag, that is pretty amazing. On the other had, we have had quite a few thousand years to work out things like roads, schools, who does what, and mass entertainment (to give just a few examples)—so maybe we shouldn’t be so impressed. After all, people have to do something with their lives—and if enough people fiddle away long enough, you end up with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Neutron Bomb, and Kim Kardashian.
Who knew? Fiddling covers a multitude of human activity..
What I do wonder about a great deal is whether we give nearly enough thought to having a pleasant and satisfying quality of life in such a fashion that we live long healthy lives—and don’t screw up the environment.
Here I think we don’t show up so well. In fact, I am far from sure that many of us think this kind of way at all. The figures show that we work (without being engaged), commute in the worst environmentally damaging way possible (one person per car), consume unhealthy food and entertainment made by dubious corporations to excess, are heavily dependent on meds, don’t exercise, need pills to sleep, and largely ignore the plight of the less fortunate. On top of that, half of us have a chronic condition, we age sicker than Europeans—and die three years younger.
Well, so what you may say. That’s what freedom is all about.
Leaving aside that contentious issue—the U.S. is only really free if you have money—and lots of it—I really have to wonder at the effects on society of everyone being so busy communicating trivia to everyone else that we don’t have time to sit back and figure out a better way.
Personally, e-mail has been my nemesis this year—but, that apart (a considerable qualification—I bow my head in shame) I avoid commuting, don’t drive, rarely text, eat modestly, and think twice before either accepting or making a phone call.
Is that good enough? Absolutely not—but it does mean that I end up with long periods of time when I can focus without distraction.
And what else matters if you are a writer?
Do I mean that? What about family, friends, and saving the planet—not to mention the opposite sex.
That’s my secret.
VOR words 451.