August 12, 2008
Last time I checked I was looking at Le Tour de France on TV, and now I’m watching the Olympics from China. And I’m wondering where I – or perhaps we – all went…? Have we tuned out of our own lives and into vicariousness? Are we all simply living our lives through the lives and achievements of others? Well yes and no, of course. We do this all of the time – we work and play and grow as individuals, yet we fall into a collective stupor over “big events”. Not everyone, nor all of us all of the time. But generally most of us fall at some time for the spectacular, the bright and colourful bells and whistles that surround our lives – be it sport, art, music, literature, organised religion, online computer games or new year’s eve fireworks. We shrug off our own selves and look at another person’s life, even to the extent of investing emotion into their success, or not.
Which is all perfectly normal, but it does beg the old question, are we being used? Indeed it raises a few questions in my mind. Is this simply what the Romans called ‘bread and circuses’? Are we left mildly amused and fairly satisfied by all of this “entertainment”, or does it actually ring hollow? Is it all a nice diversion from harsh realities like the credit crunch, global warming, war and drought, or something more sinister and manipulative? Not that I’m suggesting there’s a conspiracy, it just seems convenient sometimes that our economic system supports these massive “events” yet fails to look after the homeless, the impoverished, the starving or the oppressed.
Just my happy little thought for the day.