tips for a happy festive season
Get some peace and quiet!
For countless generations the ambient noise was rain and
wind and people talking. Now the soundtrack is full-spectrum,
un-decodable. From the dull roar of rush-hour traffic to the drone
of your fridge and the buzz of your monitor, various kinds of noise
(blue, white, pink, black) are continuously seeping into our brains.
And the volume is constantly being cranked up. Two, perhaps three
generations have already become stimulation-addicted. Can't work
without background music. Can't jog without earphones. Can't sleep
without an iPhone tucked under the pillow. The essence of our
postmodern age may be found in this kind of incessant brain buzz.
Trying to make sense of the world above the din is like living next
to a freeway - you get used to it, but at a severely diminished
level of mindfulness and well-being.
Quiet feels foreign now, but quiet could be just what we need.
Silence may be to a healthy mind what clean air and water are to a
healthy body. In a cleaner, quieter mental environment, we may find
our mood calming and depression lifting.
Ignore the messages!
From the moment your radio alarm sounds in the morning to the wee
hours of late-night TV, micro-jolts of commercial pollution flow
into your brain at the rate of about 3,000 marketing messages per
day. Every day, an estimated 12 billion display ads, three million
radio commercials, more than 200,000 TV commercials and an unknown
number of online ads and spam emails are dumped into our collective
unconscious. Corporate advertising is the single largest
psychological experiment ever carried out on the human race. Yet,
its impact on us remains unstudied and largely unknown.
For many of us, what began as an exhilarating romp has become a
daily compulsion. Our smart phones, netbooks and computers now keep
us constantly online. While waiting in line at the supermarket or
enjoying an evening walk or reading a book or even sitting at a
concert, we keep texting our friends and receiving quick Twitter
updates. We are drowning in an endless stream of connectivity. And
future generations may be even more wired. A Pew Research Center
study found that American teenagers send 50 or more text messages a
day and one-third send more than 100 a day. Another study by the
Kaiser Family Foundation reported that American children between the
ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 71/2 hours a day using some sort
of electronic device.
Our online lives may now be impairing our ability to follow a
sustained line of thought, to think deeply about something and maybe
even to reach "the heights of ecstasy and the depths of tragedy" in
our creative lives. We may be suffering from the infodisease that
Nicholas Carr first diagnosed in himself. "Over the past few years,"
he writes, "I've had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or
something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural
circuitry, reprogramming the memory... what the Net seems to be doing
is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My
mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes
it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba
diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on
a Jet Ski."
Realise the joy in your life!
Your children. Your partner. Your brother, sister,
parents, grandparents. Your pets, plants, parish, planet.....whatever
connects you to other living things. Whatever connects you to the
natural, energy giving, love filling aspects of life. Revel in the
beauty of being with those you love!
Have a very merry Festive Season!
With thanks to Kalle Lasn and Micah White of
Adbusters, for their inspiring
At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once
- Thomas Tusser
Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the
birth of Santa.
- Matt Groening, The Simpsons
The parent who gets down on the floor to play with a child on
Christmas Day is usually doing a most remarkable thing -- something
seldom repeated during the rest of the year. These are, after all,
busy parents committed to their work or their success in the larger
society, and they do not have much left-over time in which to play
with their children.
- Brian Sutton-Smith
Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all
- Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), Nichomachean Ethics