I’ve had a question that’s been burning inside me lately: how much time do you spend doing nothing? Not “nothing” as in vegged out in front of the TV or playing video games hours on end or surfing endlessly between email and Facebook and blogs and the bank statement. You may say “nothing” when someone asks you “whatcha doin’?”, but that’s not really nothing. I want to know how much time do you spend alone with yourself NOT consuming. (*disclaimer: for all you deep thinkers out there I’m sure someone will come up with the argument “it’s impossible to technically do nothing because you’re always doing something, but just keep that to yourself for the time being.)
So, what’s your answer? How much of your time is spend with yourself, getting to know yourself? A lot? A little? Zero? Why is that?
To me, consuming equals escaping.
We consume to escape reality.
We consume to escape relationships (Facebook does not equal relationships, it only enhances existing, on-going ones).
We consume to escape responsibility (be it bathing, bill-paying, or family planning).
We consume to escape ourselves.
Most people don’t like to be alone with themselves. And there’s lots of reasons why. But no matter the reason, the outcome is very similar.
That is why the TV is turned on as soon as they wake up. Then the radio is turned on in the car and the computer is booted up at work and the email to Facebook to Google News to blogs to Pandora to whatever fits your fancy cycle is started. Then maybe a real project comes along that you get to produce a little on (be it physical labor production or mental, conceptual production). Then the radio is back on for the ride home or the Internet-enabled phone comes out at dinner. Then it’s games or TV or Internet cycles until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore, and you fall asleep.
And that’s just on the lighter side. On the darker side, people are consuming drugs (prescribed or not), alcohol, destructive behaviors. All to get away from the conversation that might go on in between their ears.