Is it a strange statement of our times that getting an email entitled “Wanna make out?” at work no longer phases anyone? Probably not. The fact that it isn’t a strange statement seems a little odd to me though. (Note to chan: is that post-modern?)
I suppose as with everything else, we all just adapt. I worry, though, about how we are adapting to our everyday lives without even realizing it, how we shield ourselves from the constant overdose of information. I feel that by necessity we will train ourselves to not-see, to not-hear, to tune our senses to ignore everything but what we’ve told ourselves are the flags for the “important”.
I remember how simultaneously embarassed and horrified I was once when I was over at someone’s house and I realized that I hadn’t listened to a word they’d said for a good long while, because there had been a tv on in the background, and I was staring at it. I don’t even know that I was taking any of it in, but the moving images and colours, random words, they dragged my attention away from the speaker, and it was long minutes before I’d even realized. That was the embarassing part.
The horrifying part was when I realized I was the only one. No one else in the room seemed to have any problem at all ignoring the tv; in fact, I seemed to be the only one who even noticed it was on. If that were the case, then why was it on?? Surely whatever the host was saying was more interesting? And people were conversing in the room around us — why bring in such a huge, disrespectful distraction?
Concerned researchers are already telling us that children are socially maladjusted compared to previous generations. We blame too much time watching TV, playing video games, and not enough running around outside in the sunshine with friends. Maybe. I’m pretty sure that the blinkers we all put on just to preserve our sanity from the ads surrounding us have a pretty big something to do with it too. After all, if you can teach yourself to tune out an ad that comes on 30% louder than the program you had been enjoying, what’s to signal to your brain (especially if it’s a tender, young, still-learning-the-framework brain) that a nuance in voice, posture or a flicker of expression in someone’s face is important enough to register?
I’m not sure where any of this is coming from or going. I’m also sure I’m not the first person to say it. I’m feeling drained lately though, too tired to handle my normal storm of fleeting thoughts. This is the one that trudged through my head tonight.