Sunday, March 8, 2009

Silence and blindness

ear

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.

3 comments:

Publius said...

How else do we insulate ourselves?
Great post. Great point.

Books: I think that literature can also be escapist: spy and detective novels, romance novels, etc. Escapist fantasy also prevents us from seeing and understanding.

Working out at the gymn: all the screens, ipods, headsets. The workout machines, which force our bodies into unnatural, machine rhythms.

Eating out: never cooking our own food.

The movies: well, obvious.
TV, even TV news.
The Internet, obviously.
Blogs... uh oh!
Many churches reinforce conformity and blindness. Some do not.

Driving an automobile: ultimate insulation from your fellow humans and nature, and a feeling of invulnerability. Drive a convertible.

Political ideology: no need to think or observe or act independently.

Dorcas' Daddy said...

Well said, but consumerism demands that smaller and smaller consumptive units be created, as individual ipods sell more music than a boom box or the radio ever could.

Heck, even Rawles is a capitalists masturbatory dream, and if everyone took his advice there'd be no collapse, just a hundred-million fiefdoms bristling with guns and food.

Was it you who posted recently--the psychological meme of the individual is only a few thousand years old--before that the family was the smallest conceptual unit.

Always a pleasure.

Dragon said...

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.

Well put.