I was at the college bookstore the other day, indulging my fascination with textbooks and assigned readings, on the campus of the oddly named IUPUI (a mash up university acronym for the campus shared by Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis). A guy with headphones proudly told a clerk, "When the phone rings, the music stops so I can talk." The clerk was impressed. The voice in my head said, "And when do you ever get the silence that requires you to entertain yourself?"
My buddy David (who occasionally swings by R World to express his disgust with my expressing my disgust at Dubya and his plans), wrote me the other day about his work at RAND. Our founding fathers had days, weeks - even months - to reflect on important questions and issues. Today, policy makers at every level are continually flitting from conference to task to book to meeting to conference, and on it goes, never really getting time to merely reflect on all that steadily inundates their consciousness. Meditation and reflection was thought important in an earlier time when souls, too, were thought important. Such arcane practices are seemingly less valued in an information age, a time when the goal has seemed to become focused on increasing bandwidth rather than depth of character.
What does all this mean? Have we become all input and regurgitation, no longer inclined to mull things over? Are we gulping down even fine wine as if it were water from a hose, swallowing ideas without chewing?
Perhaps we've put too little value on doing too little - and hence our time and ability to reflect has gone the way of mindless manual labor that forced one to reflect, or at least daydream. (And we've even subcontracted daydreaming to Hollywood, able to watch videos on iPods while filling in even the most trivially small gaps in our schedule.)
I've got an opinion about the implications of living increasingly thoughtless lives, but I'm not going to share them. Instead, I'll merely suggest that you give this some thought - mull it over, if you will.