Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.
We plop on the couch and our lives fizzle away like a proverbial Alka-Seltzer tablet. I did it last night, did you?
We are wrapped around by pop culture. News that runs twenty-four hours creates info junkies. Local newscasts find the goriest accidents, the most salacious scandal, the most paranoia-stirring threats to public health to serve up for breakfast, for dinner, and to send us toward turbulent slumber at bedtime.
Transient nonentities are catapulted to fame, followed by cameras throughout the course of their ordinary days, and described with hyped banalities of the unexamined life. Romances, survival contests, sensationalized disease reports, corporate greed—all feed the ever-increasing lust for sensation.
Make me feel something…anything, just make me feel. At least, for a moment.
Where one has no real personal life, one must have an artificial life with someone else’s values. A life, or a culture, based on sensation has no choice but to continually escalate the sensations, for we quickly grow desensitized to their incessant drumbeat and their failed promise.
We have taken a good thing, asked too much of it, exhausted it, and now are left with only it.
Stuck as we seem to be with the limits of our sensations, and lacking a relationship to our own reality, we are now left to create the artifice of “reality TV.” How much more neurotic can a culture get than to construct a wholly vicarious life?
When we give up hope—for connection, for depth, for meaning—we find only sensation, and therefore we must do more of it, more often. We have a familiar ugly name for this phenomenon, and it is addiction. The culture of sensation can only produce addiction and broken hopes. Take it from somebody that knows all too well.
Few if any of us are free of addictions, if we look closely enough, and none of us are free from broken hopes and anxiety-generating issues.
The more we seek to control these aspects of our humanity, the further we drive from consciousness the essential mystery in which we walk. Moreover, the sensation sensibility will never bring dignity and depth to suffering, will never move individuals to larger spiritual engagements, or bring the meaning that arises most from the larger mysteries of life.
We misdirect conscious investment in the agenda of the soul.Note: These thought-provoking words are a close paraphrase from James Hollis Finding Meaning In The Second Half of Life.