When we go through life there is a great deal that we miss. Our senses are usually geared to “floodlight vision” by which I mean taking a panorama view and not focussing on particular things for any length of time. Often it is because we are moving faster, by means of cars, trains or aeroplanes. But we also “switch off” under duress and when we’re tired. The television is often left on and runs on in the background, whilst our thoughts repetitively bombard us with a monologue. Conscious living is often considered too tiring or too distressful, and we let the news go in and out, only focussing on subjects that we are interested in.
It is a curious thing, that when we do focus on our surroundings, perhaps by means of a documentary that attracts our attention to something, we are often surprised and sometimes excited by what we see. But our awareness is subjective and what we don’t want to see, we don’t see. Instead, we block our senses with television or radio, internet or apps, barely taking in what we see, often focussing on things that are amusing or enticing. In doing so, we are shut off from the rest of the world, in our houses or wearing earphones, our eyes fixed on the small mobile screen, and unconscious of our facial expression or the way we move.
We are perhaps the most pre-occupied generations ever, and we are teaching our children to do the same. It has been stated that the Millennials are also the loneliest generation yet. Associations, clubs, unions, registered societies are no longer interesting and so young people measure their social status by how many likes they get. They communicate often incognito, whether in gaming, dating or other forums, although people who know them recognise them on the net. No wonder that at some time in their lives they realise that they have few friends that they meet eye to eye, and start to worry.
It is the connection and interaction offline that helps against the feeling of loneliness and worrying. It is responsibility that leads to commitment and people who are pulling in the same direction, and real friends. The less I engage in a society, the more I move out of sight, and people forget me. After all, they’re like me, aren’t they? Without commitment, we get the feeling that the world doesn’t care – and it doesn’t. Without interaction, we fail to grow and instead we roll up in our beds or on the sofa, as though we are returning to the womb from which we came. People who, through an illness like dementia lose their consciousness, do the same.
The gift of consciousness has in the past been regarded as something sacred. The Spirit is one name given to consciousness before we had science, which was metaphorically blown into the nostrils of Adam (Mankind) and he became a living soul. A spirit that excites everyone around has been called a “vivifying spirit”. It remains to be asked, when will we become reanimated and reconnect to what is meaningful?