January 08, 2008

What's Important?

It's time for a randomble. As you age, you become more introspective. Sometimes this can be a bad thing, because you tend to beat yourself up about every little thing that you do wrong. Sometimes it's a good thing, because you begin to realize how you've changed over the years...and this may be the key to recapturing your youthful energy.

Hopefully, society is also becoming more introspective. Aside from the news about Jamie Lynn Spears being pregnant (of COURSE you knew about that already), there was a variety of articles decrying that we spent so much front-page space on that story. The Internet is changing the way that we look at media. The blow-back from the Paris Hilton stories (and the MSNBC host that ripped up the Hilton coverage on the air - yay for her!) may have been a sign that we, as a society, are getting tired of our attention being drawn away from what's important.

Who cares what O.J. Simpson is up to, or whether Britney Spears lost custody of her kids? Why is this important to you? Isn't your time and brain power better spent on dealing with the real troubles of the world? Don't we have enough problems of our own to not have to focus millions of dollars of our collective Gross National Product on paying photographers to record the lives of the 'rich and famous'? I say, enough already. As a society, it's time for us to refocus.

On a personal level, let's start with the idiot box in your house....the television. Turn it off. That's right - I want you to commit to watching a (MINIMUM) 1 hour a day 'NO SHOW'. That's an hour blocked out, just as if you were to watch a regularly scheduled daily TV show. And I don't want you to pick up the mouse in its place. No TV also means no Internet, and no rags (magazines) either. Instead, I want you to spend an hour with your family, your friends, or a hobby. It doesn't matter what you do with your time, but here's the plan. Since you're not spending an hour watching Entertainment Tonight, or other drivel on the boob tube, you'll actually activate your mind and disincentivize the producers of the mindless crap that is filling your brain.

In the 1960's, the United States sent a man to the moon. The computing power used to perform this feat can be found in a computer the size of a postage stamp today. The science we used to do it is taught in high schools around the country. We built nuclear power plants, bridges, skyscrapers and had a civil rights turnaround.

Since the 1960's, we've barely done shit. We've created an entertainment industry that has run away with our consciousness. We've self-hypnotized our society with a heap of mindless crap that isn't doing anything for us as a whole except keep us occupied and numb to the fact that our country and the world is falling apart at the seams. We need to wake up.

There's been a lot of technological change over the past 40 years, and we now have more capability than our parents could have ever dreamed. The problem is that we're not utilizing it to solve our problems. Instead, we're using it to keep ourselves busy while we wait for the rest of the world to right itself. Well, the responsibility is yours, not someone else's. Turn off the distractions, and get back to production values that made this country great in the first place.

Maybe I'm just projecting here. Maybe I'm projecting my own personal sense of a wasted 40 years on everyone else. It's possible that I'm dead wrong about the state of American ingenuity and creativity. But, let's take a look at what we produce today, and ask ourselves where we're headed. When I look at how much time we spend discussing mindless drivel and avoiding real problems, I can't help but think it's not just me who's lost his way.

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