It seems to me, these days, that in our daily lives we have become so obsessed with ‘doing’ that we are no longer thinking. The majority of our lives are filled with routine, with what we have to do every day to put a roof over our heads and pay the bills every month. Here, most of us have little choice but to focus on the job at hand, but this is not what I am concerned about.
What I am concerned about is the space in between. Look around you on the tube on an average Monday morning, and nearly everyone is plugged into something, whether that be music, a game, a tv show, a kindle or a more traditional novel, or the Metro. Our world is full of distractions. They entertain us, but at the same time they fill our heads, they consume our attentions and our thoughts. They are also separating us from our surroundings. Where is their head-space, their space to think? How much of the day are we actually spending in the silence of our own thoughts?
Something else I have noticed recently, being the inquisitive (or nosy!) person that I am is that these same people who are plugging themselves into these media sources every day are not alike in what they are doing, but in what they are consuming. They are playing the same games, reading the same material. The number of times have I scanned someones Kindle with my eyes on a crowded tube train and seen the damning words “Mr Grey”, or run my eyes over someones device and seen that annoying little man running through the jungle. Think how many daily readers the Metro has! All these practices are forming thoughts and opinions in the minds of the public, but what if they are all being formed the same? Mass Culture and Mass Media are relatively recent, after-all and the effects of it’s influence are still in the early stages. It is evolving and expanding all the time, and expands of course far beyond the morning commute. We go home and see the same billboards, watch the same TV programs, shop in the same supermarkets, buying the same products… I could go on.
Ultimately, unless we allow ourselves head-space to develop, I fear we may be at risk of losing our sense of self. I honestly think some people, even myself on occasion , are scared of their own thoughts. Modern media and modern culture allow us to escape, and of course we need this to some extent. I also accept that these outlets can inspire. I love to read or watch a film that changes my perspective on something, but in order to allow this to happen we need that space to reflect. A back-to-back wall of noise keeps us occupied for the present, but gives us no scope of thought for ourselves, so provides no direction for our future.