Voyeurism is my term for living life through passive distractions. It is one of the greatest dangers I see facing our young people today. Instead of actually living their lives, some people experience the thrills and excitement of real life adventure through completely artificial means such as computer games, movies, television, music, and other techno toys. These comments are not meant as value judgments but rather observations and questions that are worthy of being noted and asked. One of the greatest aspects of human existence is our ability to reflect and experience introspection. In those powerful acts of free will we are led higher.
There was a time when humanity was obsessed with survival. Real life with all its beautiful and ugly aspects could not be avoided. Today, because of humanity’s success in meeting the basic needs of large populations, comforts have become accepted without question and few worry about survival issues. Those who do worry are often cut off from those who couldn’t care less. Those who do care feel helpless and turn away. Tragically, the beauty and joys of real life are being jettisoned in the extremes.
Who needs to learn how to play an instrument when you can play any tune, any time, from an iPod? Who needs to paint when we can photograph everything and paint computer generated pictures? Forget human expression and the whole point of art – which is to witness a personal reflection of God’s glory. Art becomes a mere mechanical act, a dot-to-dot reality.
Who wants to get their hands messy with a family garden or local produce when huge industrial farms and commercial food industries can satisfy our enormous appetites? Forget the reality of understanding where our food comes from, what goes into its production, and whether we are living as stewards of the world’s resources or mere consumers. Food is no longer about a loving, nurturing exchange between God and man, but simply about getting our appetites met with what ever pleases our particular tastes at the cheapest cost.
Who needs to internalize our history and knowledge when we can Google it and find out pretty much everything we ever wanted to know? Forget the point of education, which should lead humanity toward a nobler understanding of the greatness of God. Education becomes simply another hoop to jump through. One complaint I hear from teachers over and over is that children these days have a deplorable lack of imagination. They cannot come up with an original thought. What does that say about us? We have succeeded too well. We have satisfied our wants and needs to the point of stultification. So, what does get our adrenaline going these days? Sports? A movie? Too often it isn’t real life. So what do we do to replace real life with? What makes us feel alive?