Monday, February 20, 2012

Is This Really "Life"?

"USA Today" has a section in its paper and in its online edition titled "Life." Today's online headlines in that section are:

   No beginner: Christopher Plummer could win his first Oscar
   Critic's Corner: "The Bachelor," "Band of Brothers"
   Whitney Houston laid to rest
   Denzel Washington's "Safe House" hits no. 1
   'Alcatraz' star Jorge Garcia won't be "Lost" prisoner
   All hail John Williams, a maestro of movies

Can someone tell me what these stories have to do with "Life"? Have we reached the point in our nation where most people live life in and through the fantasy world of the entertainment industry? Are we so engrossed with television, movies, online interactions, fantasy games, and such that these diversions have become the essence of life for us? Have “talk shows” replaced our interactions with family and friends? Have our conversations become dominated by what USA Today understands as “Life”?

Many of the headliner, blockbuster stocks of our day are media-driven with no tangible products involved. We are becoming consumers of artificial experiences, entertaining events, and distant communication. Life is being “lived” beyond our immediate circumstances and situations. Our “present moments” often are not present at all—they are experienced through a computer monitor, a laptop screen, or a life-sized television screen.

I have watched for a long time the phenomenon of televangelists who have become "church" for some people. These TV audience “church members” never enter a church building or interact with fellow believers in considering matters of faith and life. “Artificial intelligence” has morphed into “artificial life,” “artificial experiences,” and “artificial faith.”

And here I am, reflecting on these matters through the very media about which I am expressing concern! Has sharing ideas through the intangible media replaced civil discourse where people engage in life together, where we work together hand-in-hand, and where we have real face-to-face conversations of substance with other? I’m thinking aloud about “life” today and about what it means to “live” in a cyberspace world where virtual reality is replacing the handshake, the hug, the face-to-face conversation, and “real life.” 

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