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Entertain Me! April 15, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics, Rants.
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I have just finished reading the Michael Crichton book, Timeline. I believe we are going to watch the, apparently terrible, film tonight! The book itself is brilliant, and is a wonderful combination of history and science fiction that managed to simultaneously make me interested in the “Dark” ages and Quantum physics at the same time. No mean feat!

Something said within the pages of this book, however, made me think in some depth about something other than knights and scholars. At the end (and don’t worry, this doesn’t give anything away), a character delivers a speech on the ”mania for entertainment” that pervades out modern culture. Essentially he explains that in increasingly safe and repetitive times, the greatest human fear is not about disease or death, but of being bored. Of having nothing to do. Of living our lives from birth until death with nothing but the ordinary in the middle.

The concept got me thinking. It made me think about how odd society is, and how far from our roots we have aimlessly drifted. Don’t get me wrong – human accomplishments, technology and the extended life expectancy are brilliant, amazing, spectacular. However, they do mean that we live in a world where entertainment (the sort of thrills and excitement that life alone would once upon a time have delivered) is delivered through a box in a room. We go to the cinema, we watch TV. Now we have got to the point where we so crave thrills that we go to theme parks to be zoomed around mechanical structures at absurd speed – we do anything we can to keep ourselves entertained.

The book talks about the pointlessness of all this effort. After all, it points out, living this way may be entertaining, but it isn’t authentic. It lacks that certain undefinable quality that makes us feel like we are really experiencing life.

How far have we come from our past, from the reality of life back in the day, that we are no longer entertained?

What an interesting concept!

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Comments»

1. Caroline - April 15, 2010

I’ve been debating on dyalogues with a total stranger over Team Edward vs Team Jacob. (Bear with me – this is relevant. Also, don’t judge me – it’s a very high-end philosophical debate, I’ll have you know!) The main thrust of her pro-Edward argument is that he can give her an extraordinary life (death, I would argue), eleviated of boredom (really – all eternity and you think you wouldn’t get bored??) and making her “superior to humankind”. I have asked this morning why on earth she needs to be superior? Why do we crave to be more than we are – are we really so ill-contented just being the best we can be?

When I think about the things that *truly* make me happy, that lift my mood and leave a lingering lightness of being rather than a short term high I realise how simple life should be. Sunshine. Flowers People – my friends and family. Laughter. Time to sit and read. Nature – emerald fields, green grass, blue rivers and canals, white sand… I don’t need to speed things up to be happy – I need to slow them down!

2. Louise - April 15, 2010

Great post. You’re right though, we’re always looking for the next thrill aren’t we? Although, like Caroline, I tend to look for my thrills in nature, which I suppose supports what you are saying, that in times gone by we would look to nature for our fun and fulfillment. All the more reason I need to climb Ben Nevis I think!

3. marthameg - April 16, 2010

It’s so true that we’re not content with just being ourselves always being encouraged to superficially ‘improve’ ourselves rather than understand and engage with what’s there.

It’s also, I think, a myth that happiness can or should be something we should aim for like a life goal. Life is made up of a constantly shifiting pattern of moments in which happiness is differing and transient. If we think we can ever achieve happiness, like we would getting the right job or the right house, we will always be disappointed.

It’s more important to learn to recognise what is important to you and the things that provide that lift in your day (particularly those things that are, themselves, transient and difficult to quanitfy like friendship, nature, time etc.). That way maybe you come to appreciate moments that maybe aren’t happy but are life changing or moving or even deeply sad but nonetheless valid and important

4. Laura - April 20, 2010

I love the oufits, red and pink look amazing together. And I love the yellow dress :)

Btw I gave you an award :)

Check it out at http://afenneldesigner.blogspot.com/

Laura xx


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