Concluding my ravings, on to another symptom of my “crash landing”. Upon joining the crowd, I realized that NOT understanding a language spoken around one can form an invisible bubble of shielding calmness, and yes, of ignorant but yet reflective sanity. It incites one to focus inwards, enabling an inner dialogue, causing one to become more reflective, observing, inspiring a process of pondering possible scenarios of the meaning of exchanges or actions occurring about one. This can ignite ideas that inspire stories, art or other forms of thoughtful expression. One could argue that, only at times, knowing less is more, for it ignites power of imagination, at least in those who open to such sway.
And so, how odd it is to once again comprehend the language spoken around one. It makes one realize how frequently words or topics being swapped, or meanings woven, are vain, shallow, superfluous and pretentious. They make one shrivel, hide and, likely, become judgmental. They are dulling to one’s senses and sensitivities, can make one not just withdrawn but insensitive or indifferent, unsocial. Is this what is happening to our society, is this why we are becoming less caring and less compassionate to each other?
We, the so-called “advanced”, “civilized” world, have become empowered by amazing means of instant communication. Such make vital and enlightening information available to most of the world’s population. This power could, if we only chose to, embody a great weapon against tyranny, oppression and malicious censorship infecting and pervading our societies, eroding our basic freedoms without most of us even being aware of it.
Such instant communication can also act as a mighty generator of ideas, health fuel for brainstorming, a limitless platform for collaboration, exchanges and propagation of global connectivity, thus seeding mutual understanding and respect for those whom we would otherwise never connect with, instead left ignorant, unable to understand or appreciate.
Yet, the faster this empowering evolution progresses, the flatter become the topics and depth of what we simply can’t wait to share with our friends. The more, the faster, the more satisfying, the more fervent these back and forth exchanges become, the more of them. In essence, more is better. Thus, as the time for thoughtful reflection condenses, the fingers type faster and more skillfully. At times it seems that they are faster then the brain instructing them what to type, to share and say? Forget the quality of the linguistics or spelling. Who has the time to waste on such trivialities? The shorter, more abridged, the faster, the more, the better. Let the fingers do the talking! Who needs a silly brain?
And so it seems that humanity is loosing appreciation and benefits of simple and pure nothingness, of silence and calm, which come with not being under pressure to talk, to respond, to converse, react, but instead to think and feel, digest and reflect. Why? Will our friends forget us if they do not hear from us? Will they turn to another to blubber with? What forces us to have something to say, even if we have nothing evocative to say? After all, how much can you talk without time to think and formulate? So, what make us do it? Is it a by-product of the chemicals we are being fed, or the immersive, pervasive and invasive mass media barrage we can not anymore escape?
This is not a virus infecting only the “New World”. It is global. However here, where I understand the language, this symptomatic epidemic becomes so in one’s face, so very obnoxiously obvious, invasive, insistent, incessant, intellectually insulting and infuriating.
What happened to the delightfully sublime pleasure of just watching and thinking about what it is we are seeing, reflecting upon it, even making up stories around the potential scenarios of who the people around us could be, what they are about, what they are thinking, what is going on between them…? Have we grown too preoccupied or too indifferent to enjoy potential stories that could be woven by our minds, if only we pause, reflect and simply, quietly look, and let our imagination open its wings and fly.
Those of us who are parents know that watching children makes us realize how they live and are opulent internally. They talk to themselves, imagine, have adventures, make magic, control the worlds of their illusory creations, all in their minds. Maybe that is why their small bodies move so much, acting out without words pointlessly exclaimed to others. Sadly, as kids grow, these imaginary worlds, and their magical skills, shrink and often dissipate. Why is that? Is it because they want to be like us, or do we mechanically “teach” it out of them, or our educational system grinds these precious abilities down, or does our society do it by insisting that they fit into its standardized mold?
Anyhow, back in my country, feeling a bit out of place, in a way new to all that I consider to be my familiar world, my “home”, for the first time in 6 months, I turned a TV on. In Japan, since I did not comprehend the language, there was no need to. But also why would I, given the all new exciting world outside awaiting to be discovered. Moreover, it is real, instead of a by-product of digestion or projections of perceptions of those unseen mastermind ventriloquists puppeteering the pretty, plasticized, smiling anchor faces that, like perfect animatronics, utter the words spelled out for them on hidden teleprompters.
Back home again, curious to update on what is happening in this region of the world, as perceived by the country itself, or rather by the mass media whose role is to enlighten and educate its citizens, I tuned to the news. It is shocking how limited, biased, slanted towards one assigned perspective is the scope of the news, how brain washing, often tailored to appeal to the lowest, instead of the highest, denominator it is. No wonder the world perceives us as alienated, unaware or just indifferent to its plight. But, to be fair, mass media does the same job on citizens of their own countries, at times even worse.
We are offered an American perspective, without an effort to expose us to the European or Chinese, or Russian, or Middle Eastern, or Latin American or, do I dare suggest, the African perspectives? Seems that challenging viewers by offering exposure to such diverse, contradictory even conflicting perspectives is deemed unsuitable, or maybe too confusing and perplexing? Is mass media afraid of making us think, letting us digest and distill for ourselves what it is we as individuals believe in? No wander so many unaware Americans think our country to be the center of the world. With the mass media’s tinted offerings, many of us remain ignorant of the diverse, contrasting ways people around the complex world we share, think and perceive each other, or us, or vice versa.
But to be fair, other sources of perspectives and divergent opinion on what is transpiring globally are available. Those who are truly eager to find such can turn to the World Wide Web. Here there is an abundance of news from all of the world’s countries and regions, and even from the unlike perspectives offered by the hostile political sides within a given country. Yet this is not for the masses. It requires effort, time, curiosity, hunger for knowledge and willingness to digest it thereafter. How many of us have the time, or the drive and yes, an intelligent digestive system to handle such a challenging diet? Do you?
Can you envision the kind of conversations such a wealth and depth of insightful dose of information would instigate? Think, how much more involved and discerning as citizens we would become. How much more critical, demanding and selective we would be in electing our leaders, politicians who are supposed to honestly represent our genuine interests, and in the process, our newly educated and cultured global perspectives? Instead of a fortune spent on wars our authority would be forced to invest in not just a free education but also one that works and inspires, or health care, or climate control, preservation of natural resources, new fuels, support of the arts, sciences, innovation.
Imagine the intelligent discussions and discourses most of us, as opposed to just some, would be able to carry on with our acquaintances, friends, our own children, and even our adversaries? Even the topics of texting our youth is so fond of and dependent on, could actually gain potent depth and substance. It in turn would impact their future and, since they represent agents of a change, also shape ours, and that of the world at large.
But for now, and most likely till an indefinite whenever, let us endure pain of the modern rendition of the English language, and the depth of thought it is so poignantly, lyrically and poetically capable of expressing: "like don't you think… like… I mean, isn’t this so super cool like… well, you know what I mean? Whatever… anyway, like wouldn’t you just love it? Would it not be awesome like? Wow! Is this crazy or what, like Oh my GOD!”
Or here is a sub mutated rendition of the above, already castrated, butchered linguistics: “lk  dnt  u  think… lk I mean, isnt dis  so supa  QL lk… wel , u no  w@  I mean? W/e… nyway , lk  wudnt u  jst  luv  it? wud nt it nt  B  orsum  lk ? Wow! S  dis  %-)  or w@ , lk  OMG!”