Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cathode Cacophonous Stimuli

Woke up this morning, and since it was Saturday, and it was 10am (I slept in), I turned on College Gameday on ESPN, who were at Atlanta for the SEC Championship game (which Florida won, like I thought they would.) So I had to go to the restroom (follow me on this), and while I was sitting there, I noticed that I had stereo voices going on all around me. My mom was asleep and had HSN on (as she usually does at night), coupled with ESPN in my room, and it was a cacophony of sounds all around me.

I thought to myself, there's never a time in our house when a TV is not on, or something is filling the house with information (audio stimuli). Are we really to the point where our bodies need a constant feed of audio stimuli to be satisfied? My brother always has the TV on, and my grandmother listens to her can opener in bed at night (it's a radio as well). There's no point in the entire day when something isn't talking about the news or sports or some entertainment. And it's not like I watch it all the time. I could have Sportscenter on and have it repeating itself for the 4th time, and I just keep it on. Cause there's nothing else on, and I guess I need background noise.

I wonder why we have the TV on all the time? Why is it that we have to have the light blinking and the sound droning on, even in the dead of night, when we're all asleep. It reminds me so much of Ray Bradbury's "The Pedestrian," where the main character walks along the empty futuristic streets and sees all the windows with their blinds drawn, but with the flickering lights of TV screens easily seen. As if there's no reality but that reality. Outside means nothing to people anymore, only what they see through the electronic windows that pipe fantasy dreamlands and paradises into our homes and our minds.

I think it also goes along with the need that our brains have for constant audio stimuli. During a concert, when the music stops, or when there's even a break in sound, the audience starts screaming, or whatever, as if there had to be something to fill that void. People might actually be afraid of silence. (I think I did that blog earlier. I can't remember.) I think it even comes down to, for instance, during church or at a funeral, someone will start coughing. It might be someone having to clear their sinuses, but I also think it just might be that there's this need to hear something, to make sure you're alive, that this whole thing is real. You can never have a time of complete silence, especially with more than one person around.

I think everyone needs a little quiet time every once in a while. I'm not talking about meditation or prayer or the like, although that's a perfectly wonderful thing to do with quietness. Sometimes, though, just existing is enough. Practice "being" with nothing but yourself. Let your mind wander and see where it goes, but make sure there's no audio stimuli to distract it. There might be something amazing in that silence. Like an old friend...maybe yourself.

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