I’m not certain who it was (perhaps Dennis Miller), but I recently heard someone say something along these lines:
Never in history have we known so much about the lives of people who know so little about living.
At the risk of sounding like an old codger, think about the truth of the statement:
We live in a world where people are constantly broadcasting the details of their lives. From blogs (yes, that’s almost stone-age technology now), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, 4 Square, Tumblr, YouTube, and all the other forms of electronic media we have so readily available, people are sharing more details of their lives with the world than ever before.
And look at television. So-called “reality” television dominates the airwaves, broadcasting details of the lives of “celebrities” in more detail than we probably really care to know. The biggest headlines in the news are often garnered not by world events or other issues of concern, but by the latest controversy created by an actor or actress, an athlete, a musician, or some other big name in pop culture.
The things we pay attention to as a culture?
Quite often, it’s trivial nonsense.
What difference does it really make that Justin Bieber got arrested for speeding? Who really cares what Dennis Rodman is doing in North Korea? Does it matter one bit about who the latest Hollywood starlet was seen with, what a reality TV star said, or what a popular musician thinks about something?
These are the influences in our world that seem to garner attention. People who seem to know little about living. People whose lives really don’t make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things, especially when their influence is wasted on self.
And the things our kids and young adults aspire toward?
In many cases, they’re influenced by these people’s lives, viewpoints, and foolishness.
Following their lead. Parroting their viewpoints. Broadcasting their every moment to the world. Developing virtual connections that make no difference when they need real help. Seemingly addicted to the next “like”, “favorite”, “retweet”, “+1”, or other affirmation. Longing for their 15 seconds of fame.
Maybe it’s just media that affects my viewpoint, but where are the people in this world who really live… the people our youth SHOULD be looking up to? The people truly making a difference for good? Feeding the poor, clothing the naked, and giving hope to the hopeless? Making real progress in science / technology to solve some of the world’s hardest problems? Using art, literature, and music to influence culture for the good?
I know they’re out there.
It’s just sad that we know so little about their lives and work.
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