Of this much, I am certain: we modern people are entertainment junkies. Our days seem too much for us to bear, so we feel entitled to our little escapes. We listen to recorded music, watch videos, log onto our computers, and take it all in without even thinking about what we are doing.
Not too many years ago, the only way to hear any music was to sing it, play it, or be in the same room with someone doing the singing or playing. If we wanted drama or comedy, a play was staged with real actors doing their bit in front of real people.
We were part of a live community sharing an experience that was deliberate and special. Now, we pop in music or movies, sit back, and consume them like junk food. We spend hours disengaged, putting in our earphones and creating little media cocoons while the rest of creation spins around us unnoticed.
At this point in my life, I don’t need a background soundtrack for my life or a host of vicarious experiences to help me make it through my days. Instead, I deliberately immerse myself in a piece of music or select a movie that is worth entering into fully, and I avoid doing more than one thing at once. Generally, I don’t work and listen to music or have the television on. Consequently, I experience these potential blessings more fully, and I also turn them off when they aren’t making it for me. If a song is bringing me down, I turn it off. If a movie isn’t worth watching, I quit watching, even if I rented it for a few bucks. After all, I’m a couple of hours closer to the grave at the end of a bad movie, and I’d like to have more to show for my time.