September 23, 2011

Living Well Is The Best Entertainment

What else could we do with $1.8 Trillion a year?
Aldous Huxley wrote in Brave New World of humanity's "almost infinite appetite for distractions". Fear was not what we should be worried about, because it may be our desires that would be more damaging in the end. He could see how the pursuit for pleasure could easily turn into a tyranny of the trivial that we willingly accept into our lives without complaint, and at our peril.

More recently, Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves To Death, asked, "Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements?" Why would we want to, you may ask? Because it could mean your freedom, financial and otherwise.

The industry that keeps us artificially entertained (and distracted) is a glittery Goliath that sucks up enormous amounts of our wealth and time. Global entertainment and media (E&M) industry spending is expected to rise to about $2 trillion by 2015. That's right - 2 trillion dollars a year spent on movies, video games, television, casinos, music and Internet. Who, indeed, would be brave enough to take arms against this global Goliath?

In the post-apocalyptic novel, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, there is not much left of the entertainment and media industry, or anything else. The 1949 novel describes a world population that has been decimated by disease. Entertainments and distractions, pleasure even, is of little use to the small group of humans that are busy just trying to survive the collapse of civilization.

In the novel the main character, Ish, "was surprised at how little actual necessity they had to seek amusement. In the kind of life they lived there always seemed to be a good deal to do just to get food and to support one's self in comfort and there was in it a great deal of satisfaction which did not call for anything as definite as amusement."

The collapse of civilization is what it might take to divert those 2 trillion dollars toward more useful purposes, such as ending poverty and hunger, or providing education for all, or even just making sure all humans are able to survive another day.

My low impact basic life is much more than survival - I feel like I am thriving. However, one thing I have discovered in my frugality is that a lot of time is spent working to support my self and my family with the basics.

There is a lot of work to be done just putting food on the table when you don't eat any processed foods, fast foods, or restaurant meals. Walking and cycling take more time and effort than driving. Growing a garden requires more work than a trip to the grocery store. The simple life may not be an easy life, but it is naturally rewarding, satisfying, and yes, even entertaining.

The things that make up our daily existence, when conducted with the right attitude, become a form of beauty and entertainment in themselves.

I don't want my attention to be held by artificially amusing or diverting entertainments manufactured to keep me from being an active, engaged, and inquiring citizen. My favorite entertainment is living well while seeking out continual improvements and refinements.

I enjoy being entertained by things that keep me healthy and connected with nature and the larger community. Activities that are expanding and creative, rather than limiting and passive. I enjoy situations that challenge me to become a better individual and more effective global citizen.

For me, those and not the mindless, fake, and often violent crap offered by the 2 trillion dollar E & M industry, are the best entertainments and sources of satisfaction that I know.

4 comments:

  1. I just found your blog and am inspired by wandering through the archives. We need to hear what you are saying. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Susan,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. If you find things of value here then you, too, must sense that the world is changing.

    Together we will build better lives, and a better world... for everyone.

    Welcome to NBA. I am glad you found us.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really agree, sometimes it is our desire that will really hurt us a lot. This is a good read, worth my time spent in reading it! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Entertainment,

    I am glad you found this... 'entertaining'. I do hope you return to find more of value here.

    ReplyDelete

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