There’s a great article by Clive Hamilton in The Age today on the madness of our consumerist lifestyle and how it strips away our ability to just be. As I have been reminded by some friends of mine over time, we are human beings, not human doings. I particularly like the comment from Hamilton about the Twitter phenomenon, when he says that
“new modes of communication keep appearing to prevent us from owning our attention. The most absurd must be Twitter, which spreads like a virus for one reason only; our waning capacity to be alone with ourselves. Our brains have been rewired so we crave external stimulation to avoid succumbing to boredom”
Mark Sayers deals with this issue in The Trouble with Paris when he talks about our culture of hyperreality and how it is basically a sin to be bored. I have mentioned in a previous post a reference to a TV ad for the benefits of particular mobile phone games which you can play while you have to go through the hassle of waiting for the bus.
Our society tells us that we need to constantly fill our lives with ‘noise’. Clive Hamilton, in this article, as mentioned above, refers to this as our inability to face ourselves by saying, “we are terrified that if we strip away everything to reveal the essence we will find there is nothing there”.
What a sad place our culture is when we are afraid of being with ourselves, of looking ourselves in the mirror and facing life on life’s terms. I believe it is only Jesus who gives us this ability to see ourselves more as we really are and cope, with the fact that we are loved beyond measure despite our tendency toward self-destruction. Jesus offers and delivers on life in all its fullness. And this involves a life of being, of reflection and contemplation as well as passionate action and commitment to ideals greater than ourselves.