Do you want to be entertained, or do you want to live a fulfilled and meaningful life? What’s more important — partying and mindless pop-culture, or fulfilling your destiny? These are powerful questions in our day-and-age, because many are choosing the former.
“Now, now, now, I want it now!” A large swath of our population wants everything now — immediate gratification has replaced long-term planning. As our world gets more manic, the media and corporations push more gratuitous sex and violence upon us and alarmingly, many people lap it up without question. Why focus on improving your life, when you can fade off into oblivion watching the Kardashians.
Those infernal Kardashians
The Kardashian/Jenner’s are worth close to $300 million…for doing absolutely nothing. Kim alone is worth $175 million and her greatest claim to fame was the release of her sex tape. About 2.1 million people tune in to “keep up” with the Kardashians each week. Keep up with them? How? They’re leaving the rest of the country in the dust. They have grown obscenely wealthy and do nothing — could you get rich doing nothing? Yet, millions of people follow them on Twitter and watch their “reality” show, making them richer, while the average American sputters and stalls in their life.
The best thing we could do is send the Kardashians and those like them…packing.
In ancient Rome, the rich and powerful created the Coliseum for the people’s entertainment. Roman citizens gathered in frenzied crowds to watch men kill each other or to see a ferocious Lion make a meal out of a man — yeah, that’s quality entertainment. The Coliseum was basically just a control tactic — swamp the people with absurd, salacious and mindless entertainment, and they won’t notice what the rich and powerful are really up to. Isn’t that what we have now in the form of “reality” TV, politically charged news programs, video games, social media and other imbecilic distractions? I do seem to single out the Kardashians quite a bit, but with good reason — they are not only a cause of the problem, but a symptom.
“A plant needs roots in order to grow. With man it is the other way around: only when he grows does he have roots and feels at home in the world.” — Eric Hoffer
Yes, I’m on a rant
The reason why I’m so passionate about this is because too many people are flittering their lives away. We’ve replaced personal growth and personal development with distraction — sitting around our TV or computer or partying the night away. This all comes with a very steep price. Time is valuable and while having fun is vital to our happiness, we can’t possibly expect to thrive in life if we put mind numbing diversions ahead of reaching our life’s dream. So yes I’m passionate, but its because I care and an occasional rant is cathartic.
“Within a perceived reality, it is the responsibility of each person to choose their destinations as well as the pathways and pace involved in reaching those destinations. Ultimately, we create our own universe.” ― Benjamin P. Hardy
Are you stagnating, or thriving?
To thrive means to excel, grow and evolve by learning and doing new things of value.
Daniel Brown, a Psychology lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, says that if a person is to thrive in life, they must possess at least a few of the following characteristics:
- enjoyment of learning
- spirituality or religiosity
- social competency
These aren’t the only characteristics, but they’re some of the more important ones.
And if you’re stagnating in life, you might just notice a few of these signs:
- chronic procrastination on your goals
- not feeling like doing anything – sitting around rather than being fully engaged in life
- excessively sleeping, eating, playing video games or doing other mindless activities for comfort
- not achieving anything new or significant in your life
- a nagging feeling you’re not living up to your full potential
“The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.” — Josh Waitzkin
What can we do?
The change needs to come from within. Sure, we’re all tired after a day’s work, but is plopping down in front of the TV truly relaxing us? Is surfing Facebook and Twitter? Probably not. Until we realize that the banality of our pop-culture is harming us, we won’t be able to shake it off — Hollywood and big corporations will continue to pump out idiocy for as long as we lap it up.
The cure is that we need a return do decency in the world and in particular, in the United States. The elite in the tech and entertainment industries have convinced people that sex, violence and trash is somehow a right and a treasured freedom of artistic expression. It’s not — it’s just trash for the sake of the almighty profit.
A shift in priorities is needed, so that value is once again placed on personal learning and development and not on immediate and unfulfilling gratification from mediocre bunk — that shift will only come if people reject the trash being foisted on us.
“Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.” — W.B. Yeats
So what we can do, is tune out. We can stop “keeping up” with the Kardashians. We can chose quality TV over trash TV. We can turn off our gadgets and walk away from Facebook and Twitter in favor of reading a good book or going for a walk. To thrive, we need to say “enough is enough” and get up, get out and start doing — start living our lives out loud, bold and with vigor.
So how will you change your life for the better today?
“How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life?” — Charles Lindbergh