How many hours of your awake time is spent either looking at a computer screen or at a television? Five hours? Six hours? 12 hours? More? In a recent article, Own Your Words, I said this in the comments:
I think those in the future who choose to study us after we are dead will be amazed at how much free time we had when the world was crumbling all around us and we did nothing to heal it in time. They will discover were only interested in peering into LCDs and CRTs to ignore the fire engulfing us on all sides. It will be a sad day of reckoning for memories when they realize on our behalf that we never really lived at all.
Why do we spend so much time peering into something that doesn’t — yet
— reciprocally look back at us? Are we merely observers in life or are we more on the level of passively peeping into places we cannot create in the real world around us?
When I was in graduate school at Columbia University one of our scenery design teachers — the brilliant Robin Wagner — taught us the key to good design is to “entertain the eye and the body will follow.”
I found Robin’s advice fascinating back then and frightening now as people build “Eye Reservoirs” on the web and entertainment Pupil Portals posing as news programs on television. Watching demands nothing more than a receptive eye.
We don’t even have to focus our eyes on what is set before us because the images still dance in our minds and flay away any semiotic remainders of good sense and socialized morality. What are we searching for with our eyes and not our bodies? What meaning do we yearn to render in pixels and dot pitch?
How can we hope to overcome the hypnotic state of Active Eye Entertainment while the spirit and mind — the vital essences of the body and the very bits of individual being — become blurred in the strobing light of a day that never ends under a sun that never rises?