Went walking this morning, down to the red canoe and back. Two reasonably flat miles through a quiet town. Fishermen are out on the river. Not too many bums out yet. Four or five new for sale signs, lots of for rent signs. Almost no traffic.
What saddened me was that everyone that was on the streets with me (save the bums) had their iPods on and were tuned out.
So this will turn out to be a further digression on music. But this is more a digression on how it can be misused to blind us to the world around it. As good old Claudius has pointed out so eloquently, good music takes some effort, takes some ritual. But what is channeled through the white earpieces while you are out on the streets isn’t music. It is a wall that prevents you from interacting with the world around you and vice versa.
When you wander the streets, trying to wall yourself off from the world around you, you become little better than the גולם. You are an insular self, deliberately cutting your senses off in order to staunch and “better” control the information flow that is the world we live in. You become insensate in the true sense of the word, substituting a rhythmic simulacrum for the complexity and subtlety of the world.
Think of all the little things that you do to prevent this interaction. I am arguing that there are innumerable things that you do that are similar to this particular deliberate self-impairment. One by one, these are things that you will have to root out.
Preventing yourself from fully seeing the world that engulfs you will keep you from sensing the subtle cues that will perhaps allow you the edge you need to live.