D’oh

     Whether or not you buy the notion that magic mushrooms played an important role in the evolution of human consciousness, you must agree that the density of interconnections in our neural circuitry underpins the richness of our thinking.

  OK.  What could cause a reversal, a diminution, a loss of ‘stars’ in our cerebral constellation, a trend backwards toward the synesthetic threshold?   Television.  And it won’t take generations for evidentiary manifestation.  Just as DDT decimated avian populations within a generation, so is the boob tube laying waste to a wide swath of our individual and collective brainpower.

   US students were “mediocre”, faired poorly in a just released assessment of fifteen year olds across the planet.  Another recent report showed that Americans’ scores on a commonly used creativity test fell steadily from 1990 to 2008, particularly among our youth.  Time spent in front of screens was given as a primary cause.

  Not only do couch potatoes’ muscles wither and minds lose dimension while bellies grow, the attendant self isolation wreaks wider havoc.  Society’s collective consciousness attenuates along with the density of its interactions. 

  An article in the May 22 WSJ posited that: “Where population falls or is fragmented, cultural evolution may actually regress”.  For example, 10,000 years ago the 4,000 residents of Tasmania became isolated by rising sea levels.  They then “constituted too small a collective brain to sustain let alone improve the existing technology” and apparently lost the ability to fashion tools, clothing and fishing equipment.

  Reflect upon this the next time driving through a neighborhood and you notice that nearly every large window is illuminated by that familiar glare.  Or the next time in a big box store the walls of which are filled with incredibly expensive and huge television sets.  With $500.00 alters upon which to rest them available nearby.

  Most TV programs are either inane or pandering.  Not great art. Reminds me of what Iris Murdoch wrote about bad art: It’s “the soft, messy self-indulgent work of an enslaved fantasy.” 

  The other evening there was a prime time network program about losing weight.  How can there be viewership sufficient to satisfy advertisers?  We should feel insulted.  Newsflash – there is one and only one way: EAT FEWER CALORIES THAN YOU BURN!

  Jeesh. Who is going to fix stuff here in the States some years hence, let alone invent it? 

  D’oh!

 

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