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Atlas

When the sidewalk no longer ends

I'm perpetually trying to jam more content, and more of the wrong kinds of content, into my life than it will hold. With near-constant, low-cost access to an almost limitless amount of information and entertainment, I'm a glutton to the point of overload. It'd be easy to complain about being overloaded, but the truth is, I'm the one doing the overloading, almost all of the time. And mostly, I don't even know it.

DVRs and RSS feeds capture streams of anything in which I could possibly have a remote interest, so I can sift through them later for meaning or distraction. Hyperlinks take me even farther out, offering stimuli to amuse, spur my thinking, or even provoke my feelings (positive and negative). Here's the problem for me: much of that isn't connected to my real life and relationships. I say "for me" because I want to stop short of saying that's how it works for everyone. Whether the tools themselves are flawed is an open question; it's how I'm using them that's causing damage in my life. I don't think I'm alone—I'm just telling my own story.

Of course, I immediately want a system to fix it, but that impulse is suspect. For now I want to sit with the fact that I'm increasingly occupied with stuff that's not really in my life. Thankfully, my actual life and relationships have enough gravity to pull me out. But I don't want to spend life being stimulated or depleted by a bunch of people and stuff that couldn't care less about me. Ultimately, that shows contempt for the life God's given me. It's also self-abusive and potentially harmful to others. Why I do it raises a whole other set of questions, but they don't need to be answered right away (if at all). That's not the work that needs doing right now.

This, and a bunch of other stuff, may really be all about glory. More on that when I have time.

Comments

It's so easy to get caught up in stuff that has nothing to do with our real lives. I've been watching one show in particular far too much lately. I can see that right now, I'm thinking more about pretend people than real people, and it's because the pretend people are more fun and less work. Unlike my kids, they require no discipline, I don't have to feed them every few hours and I never have to make them go to bed on time.

It makes me wonder how many people are living their actual lives, and how many are caught up most of the time in something like a dream. Or maybe I just am lousy at separating fantasy from reality.
I don't think we're alone in this. It's so easy to find something way outside the context of our real lives to stir our feelings, and for me, it really affects what I have left for my true life (the one I'm actually living). It's all so instantly available—unlike real life, which has ebb and flow. It's scary and grotesque the more I consider it, and I see it in myself and others all the time.