Selective Consumption, pt 2

Here is an excellent article over at the BBC articulating in a different way some of the things I was trying to say in my previous post about the deleterious effects of modern consumption.

A Point of View: Does More Information Mean We Know Less?

Here are some excerpts.

The obsession with current events is relentless. We are made to feel that at any point, somewhere on the globe, something may occur to sweep away old certainties. Something that if we failed to learn about it instantaneously, could leave us wholly unable to comprehend ourselves or our fellow human beings.


It is then we might realise that – in attempting to follow the narrative of man’s ambitious progress towards a state of technological and political perfection – we have sacrificed an opportunity to remind ourselves of eternal, quieter truths which we know about in theory, and forget to live by in practice.

And my favorite quote,

How free secular society leaves us by contrast. It expects that we will spontaneously find our way to the ideas that matter to us and gives us weekends off for consumption and recreation. Like science, it privileges discovery. It associates repetition with punitive shortage, presenting us with an incessant stream of novelty.

For example, we are enticed to go to the cinema to see a newly released film, which ends up moving us to an exquisite pitch of sensitivity, sorrow and excitement. We leave the theatre vowing to reconsider our entire lives in light of the values shown on screen, and to purge ourselves of our decadence and haste.

And yet by the following evening, after a day of meetings and aggravations, our cinematic experience is well on its way towards obliteration. Just like so much else which once impressed us, but which we soon enough came to discard – the majesty of the ruins of Ephesus, the view from Mount Sinai, that poetry recital in Edinburgh, the feelings we had after putting down Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich.

There’s much more there that is worth checking out. Read it and let me know what you think.


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