First, let’s set the situation. Mariner and his wife don’t watch television much – maybe some taped British stuff and tennis if the men aren’t castrating themselves by wearing their billcap backwards. Especially we don’t watch news programs. We don’t use social media for the reasons that are currently in the news (Zuckerberg and Cambridge Analytica). We still have flip phones rather than smartphones for reasons similar to the issues with social media. Finally, as if to put a point on it all, we won’t send our spittle to DNA mappers because that data, too, will find its way into data mining corporations.
Mind you, we keep abreast of important news around the world and in our own bailiwick by reading quality magazines, targeted non-fiction books and websites of proven quality.
So it’s quiet around the house.
The first sensation is how quiet it is. Mariner went so far as to play a few oldies on the boom box. But quietness quickly normalizes. It isn’t long before one starts to putter about – like mariner’s recent post about his home office, which had not been straightened in his lifetime. It is amazing how strong the urge is to accomplish something; mariner is fortunate that garden season is approaching. Still, he has dusted off the woodshop tools and has a few projects going. The reader must take note of the dreaded influence of constant television: lethargy.
The difficult part of the day is the evening unless perhaps one watches daytime entertainment that often is tailored for female viewers. In the evening, the television programmers really taunt us with interesting trailers and human interest sitcoms – or cops and monsters, whichever. Even the special subject channels like Science, National Geographic and Bloomberg mix in low quality programs. We’ve remodeled enough HGTV homes. Finally, for those who don’t suffer from attention deficit syndrome, there are the movie channels. One may say, “Let’s watch Sound of Music again; that was a good movie,” or “Isn’t that Katherine Hepburn? Boy she looks young!”
Unless one already is a reader, it takes a bit of commitment to replace the television with reading. Commit to reading an entire book and finish it before you cave in to TV. If reading isn’t your talent, look for a hobby. Four nights a week at the fitness center may change your entire life. Want to meditate and escape for a while? Knitting, crocheting, artwork, woodcarving and cabinetry are excellent. It is amazing how many folks do jigsaw puzzles; that hobby requires staying power! Card playing is still a good pastime. You get the drift.
But now we turn to the most evil distraction from normal life: the smartphone. Fortunately, mariner and his wife don’t have them but we see the strong distraction in others and fear what effect it may have on our relationships. You have heard all the silly examples but here’s one or two: children talking to each other in the same room using their smartphones instead of simply talking face-to-face. How about wandering around the neighborhood looking like a broken steering wheel looking for unknown objects? How about those ‘free’ download games that keep your thumbs in top condition and impose irreversible Pavlovian Syndrome such that you become a hermit in the middle of a crowded downtown street or during your great-grandmother’s 110th birthday; “Oh, has everyone left?”
Mariner admits to prejudice primarily because the data mining corporations deliberately impose smartphone addiction then try to redirect one’s life to some corporation’s advantage (Ever search for furniture online and suffer the furniture popups ad infinitum?). Prejudiced or not, he has learned the value of quietude. Quietude means the brain is off the leash of constant distraction. Once the frontal lobes and the amygdala are free to experience what’s real rather than experiencing manufactured reality, quietude becomes a pleasant experience unavailable in the telecommunications world. Let’s not lose the joy of speaking face-to-face.