Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Re-Programmed Brain

March 9, 2008

It won't be many years before the human brain will be automatically programmed to change over to Daylight Savings Time without any prompting from media personalities.

It's happening incrementally already. A high percentage of my clocks went there by themselves this morning, and all I did was go to bed an hour early last night and I went right to sleep. When I awoke, it was bright and early, and the clock I had pushed forward on my own registered 6 A.M. so I hung around in bed for an hour and haven't noticed any nagging jetlag related sensations otherwise.

But there is a nagging sensation that this is getting too easy. They're letting us think we participate in the process by leaving our watches and a few clocks for us to turn. It's part of the computer-induced A.D.D. that governs our activities and gives us the constant stress that something is wrong, something is out there there must be done, but we don't know what.

Our lives are lived in brief compartments of time. We sit at computers and pride ourselves on our ability to multi-task; we assume our kids are brighter than previous generations because they master this technology at an early age. Our pace is accelerated and we feel as if we are always under stress. We cannot relax. We don’t sleep well.

We have relinquished a great deal in our worship of the great god Progress. We have not had time to process the future before we embraced it. The human brain was not designed to be at its best in the compressed, claustrophobic compartments we have created for it. Children, hurried to become adults, will never know what they missed. They will not know the pace of nature, of the gentle shift of seasons, or the inherent beauty of the planet. They are provided with organized activities to fill their time; their heads are pumped full of facts which have nothing to do with truth. They mistake, as their schools mistake, memorization for learning.

The spiritual is not in the program, unless it is seen as a way to amass more things or enhance one’s status. The spiritual side of life is seen as one of the steps toward the serenity we seek but never seem to find. In reality, to become truly spiritual is to step outside the materialism that surrounds us; it is a difficult and sometimes painful journey. The only way to arrive at that destination is the long way.

The fact is, we are all suffering from attention deficit disorder to some degree. Television has accustomed us all to the constant interruption of commercials and affected our ability to focus for longer periods of time. Our ability to meditate has been replaced by a need to be on top of all things at all times, to control the out of control, and to perform at our most intense if not most excellent level, or at least to give the appearance of doing so.

The price is high. We do not yet know what toll this compartmentalization has taken on our individual existence or society as a whole. Some of us are thrust into nostalgia at the thought of a low-pressure life and seek to recapture it if we can, even in some small measure. Some of us move to smaller communities, only to find them inhabited with other humans with attention deficits. We study, we write, we join committees, we choose politicians. But we are overwhelmed with the number of people who simply don’t understand and do not question.

It’s not about our communities or about our choice of television fare. It’s about a shift in our ability to reason with our own lives and think for ourselves. It’s about our need to cut off our feelings and present a solid front of surface ease by consuming material wealth and objects instead of building outwardly from a spiritual base.

It’s about making time for that very spiritual seeking. It’s about time. And time itself will one day be incorporated into the A.D.D. of our lives, as meaningless as simply saying the time is different when we want it to be, or when it is decided to be by someone else. It will be done with no fanfare, unperceptibly, and hardly anybody will notice.


Nan said...

Very, very nicely said. I think I'm doing okay but I do worry about my always-connected children. I fear they think my lifestyle is based on my age. But they don't know that I was like this at their ages. :<)

Bryan said...

A well-written post. Agree with you. I didn't know that attention deficit disorder can be cured untill i came across It took me quite some time, but I've finally overcomed it.

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