Working as I do in people's homes, across a wide social spectrum, I'm continually exposed to the private side of the American lifestyle. To me, there is no scene more depressing than an elderly or incapacitated individual, blankly watching Wheel of Fortune. It is at the same time unbearably trite and unutterably sad. And it always seems to be that show. That stupid, stupid show.
Some of my feelings were crystallized while reading from The Christian Mind. Blamires writes: "Our concern is with the abuse of mechanical contrivances by men and women who succumb to their influence and allow their lives to be dominated by them. The car provides one example, television another, radio a third, and the cinema a fourth. Excessive use of these contrivances reduces man's life to a sub-human level, replacing choice, decision, and purposeful activity by a drugged acceptance, a mindless inertia."
There is the dividing line: "choice, decision, and purposeful activity," (which is human and whole) or "a drugged acceptance, a mindless inertia" (which is sub-human and inferior). Read a good book, call a friend, sew a quilt, make some iced tea, play a game, whatever, but (literally) for goodness' sake, turn off the wretched tube. I don't object to the screen and the plastic, but I will fight the hollow humour, slimy smiles, and materialistic madness tooth and nail.
It's not that gardening will necessarily make you whole, just that gardening (in the basic sense) is vitally connected with what is whole, while television usually is not. As Blamires notes, "The familiar antithesis between mechanization and Nature largely misses the point. We do not lament the increasing dependence upon mechanical contrivances because it removes man from the natural, but because it removes man from the supernatural."
Do we recognize this massive betrayal of humanity for what it is? Can we help others rediscover themselves as vibrant, spiritual beings in a vibrant, spiritual universe? Do we radiate an enthusiasm for what is real?
I hope so.