Robert Michael Pyle has published an interesting essay in Orion Magazine on how electronic immersion in blogs, email, Blackberry’s, TV, etc. can pull us out of the moment and out of contact with people and nature. It’s a beautiful and inspiring piece.
I feel a bit hypocritical linking to this piece, being the writer of a blog myself, but it does reflect a lot of my feelings. As someone who has been without a TV for four years, I understand the beginning of the essay intimately! I notice that I’ve lost touch with some of the popular culture, a strange place to be, given that I was a pop culture junkie for many years. I’d always know the newest videos on MTV or what’s going on in the feud between Tupac and Biggie. Now, I don’t know about any of this stuff and I’m much happier for it.
Consider getting rid of your TV or turning it off and finding time away from the computer. Find space to sit, finding stillness in the present, in your own private thoughts, in relationships with others, with books. The first few weeks are like withdrawing from any addiction, but pretty soon you forget why you “used” in the first place…at least most of the time.
Here’s an excerpt from the essay:
I suspect that the mass capture of our synapses by electronica may threaten not only serenity but society itself. On a recent train trip, as I was writing with pencil on paper, with one eye out the window on yellow-headed blackbirds and paint foals, I saw something that appalled me: a youngish mother, supplicating babe in one arm, the other grafted to a cell phone on which she was playing a video game. The device went on and on, zinging, pinging, and ringing away, as the baby begged for its mother’s presence. She’d pause a stroke to shove a chip into the child’s mouth, or tell it to watch the passing lights, but she never looked it in the eyes. “You’ll drive everyone crazy if you keep on crying,” she scolded.
I told her that it was the noises from her machine that were driving us crazy. “Oh, this?” she said, and muted it, but kept on playing into the night. I wanted to add, “. . . and your rotten excuse for mothering.” Then the scene repeated itself with a different mother, a different baby, in the Sacramento station.
For the rest, click through here.