That’s entertainment! Steven Lake asks, “What’s the point?” if it isolates you and your loved one.
What does death by entertainment mean? My wife and I were talking the other day about how much we entertain ourselves. Specifically, we were talking about TV, movies, and the internet. For the most part we use these forms of audio-visual stimulation for entertainment purposes. Sometimes we use them for education.
We watch a lot of TV late in the evening after work. Often, these are pre-recorded shows which allow us to sit, skip through the commercials, and zone into the entertainment whether it is The Expanse, Colony, Supergirl, etc. Yeah, we are big on Sci-Fi.
Time flies by and three hours evaporates in a moment.
It is the same when listening to teleseminars, perusing FB, or looking at You Tube. Why are we inundating our senses with all these flashing pixels worth of entertainment?
Methinks it is to avoid the banality of our lives. OK, sometimes I am just too exhausted to do anything after work and watching some mind- numbing piece helps me veg out. If it happens to be of high quality, so much the better, though it’s not a prerequisite. Anything will do at those moments.
Lately, I notice that my tolerance for TV is dropping. At one time, I believed that sitting with my partner watching a show we both enjoyed was . . . connecting, if not in a major way, at least in some way. I don’t feel that way anymore.
I am frustrated that I am spending any time watching a fantasy, whether fictional or from a “reality” show. I am feeling irritated at the absurdity of it all and would rather be creating or engaging with people, not with images of people.
Reading fiction has come back into my life. Even though this too can be an escape, it seems to be an engaging process involving more of my synapses. I don’t go off into the “zone” like I do with the TV or the computer. It is however, still entertainment.
What’s the problem with all the entertainment that is instantly available? If you are into conspiracy theories it is a balm, or drug, for the masses to keep them unthinking slaves to the corporate world – a never-ending treadmill to feed the rich with our time and efforts. Entertainment dulls the senses and makes us incapable of action.
Entertainment makes us feel good, or at least numbs us from the pain of reality. It is an escape. But where are we escaping to?
After being “entertained” I notice that my sense of reality is slightly altered. Often, I am irritable, pensive, or moody. Matters become worse as I think about the three hours I have just wasted – how they could have been used more productively.
It is as if I am tired of watching someone else’s creative output. I would rather be writing, working on my business, painting, creating a video, or spending the time in conversation with my wife.
Being entertained has become an avoidance of life. Not all entertainment mind you. Going out to an evening of dance, opera, theater, live comedy, still has a different quality of experience for me. Anything coming from the screen . . . no matter how well done, leaves me empty. Even listening to the radio is a better experience. I can at least do something else while it is on.
It seems that our electronic devices take us away from people even as they purport to connect us. Watching five people at a restaurant all on their smart phones texting their friends not at the table seems redundant. Why be out with friends if you are not going to be actively engaged with them?
When it comes to intimate relationships, the easy access to outside realities is obviously enticing. How many times have I looked over at my wife as she listens to a You Tube video of her latest spiritual teachings while I listen to a webinar of the latest development in online marketing? A lot.
Yes, we are in the same room and look up and smile at each other now and then, but we are not connecting. We are two ships stalled ten feet away from each other in our separate worlds. When watching TV we are closer physically, but again, in an altered state. It is a bit like being stoned together, sharing the same experience but not fully, as we are experiencing reality from a fuzzy state of incoherence. The TV may be tuned in but we are not.
Unless we are aware of the degrading effects of this constant bombardment from excessive outside electronic stimuli, I believe we become susceptible to the erosion of our relationship.
It is like Chinese water torture. Little by little our relationship is attacked by something seemingly harmless. Yet, over time, water can erode the hardest substance. Likewise, the constant flickering of blue light can affect the strongest relationship if counter-measures are not taken.
Like any problem, the first step is awareness. Do you feel or think that you and your partner are spending too much time “entertaining” yourselves and not enough time connecting or spending your time in more constructive pursuits (however you define that)?
If you think “death by entertainment” is a problem in your lives, the next step is to have a discussion about the problem and create a plan of action.
Maybe you decide to go out for a walk after dinner instead of immediately watching TV, maybe you play a board game with the kids, or perhaps visit friends, or go to the museum, read poetry to each other, or, be still my beating heart – make out.
You don’t have to give up all your previous forms of “entertainment,” you won’t, just add in entertainment that is interactive and connects you to your partner rather than creating a cone of silence.
If you are not sure how to judge your “entertainment,” ask yourself this question, is my “entertainment” doing something to us, or something for us.
Also by Steven Lake
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