Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Anti-Social: The Little Black Box

A couple weekends ago, we went on a mini (two kids and preggo, hello) tour of the McCormick
mansion. I thought the little, gold-plated ceiling theater in the basement was impressive until we
got to the "drawing" room. I was suddenly inspired to speak with a British accent, call my husband
Mr. Darcy, and ring for Carson the butler all at the same time.
Pour me a cup of this elegant simplicity, I'm moving in.

The guide asked the crowd if they noticed anything different about this 1930's drawing room compared
to our modern living spaces. You don't even have to be there to know that half the crowd was murmuring:

"There's no TV." *gasps* *shocked faces* How did they liiiiive?!

That's when we all reached into our pockets to make sure our smart phones hadn't disappeared into thin
air, taking the internet connection and all things 21st century with them! Phew, I've got 3 bars.

"The couches are placed in a circle," the guide went on. "People faced each other, engaged with
one another - not the television, not their iPhone, not their computer."
They were living out the
original "face time". They spoke about the current news, affairs, business - what they had heard on the
street, from their neighbor, or the newspaper. It was the homiest "homepage" anyone ever saw.

If not for central air, I'd say I was born in the wrong century.

"The couches are placed in a circle."

I still can't get it out of my head. A circle to gather people in, to draw them into communion
with one another - to talk, to speak, to share, unfold, receive, delight...

And we trade it all in to face our television screen, to sit side-by-side with family, friends, complete
strangers and tune-in to the little, black box that keeps us all comfortable, entertained, but tragically
disconnected, drifting further and further away from the art of communion. The gift of communion.


I do believe there is a time and place for the television - even the one that sits in my own living room.
But I guard the "sacred space" in which it dwells with vicious vigilance. If I had more space, you
can bet my couches would be placed in a circle and I would force all my company to sit back, relax,
and sing kumbaya with me. Ok, maybe not sing, but you can call me Jane.

I don't want to be lulled to sleep by the gentle hum of commercials, flickering of channels.
I don't want someone else to think for me and give me ideas about what to believe.

I want my senses to crawl, my mind to race, ideas and passions to mingle. I want to know YOU.
I want to see your face, hear your stories, read your heart. Social. Communion...

the antithesis of that little black box and all it stands for.

"I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.
The world will have a generation of idiots."
- Albert Einstein

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