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Berlin
comfortably numb

Picture this...a man sitting on a bench under a tree in a natural setting. In front of him is an azure coloured lake of clear clean water.

He sits here looking at a flat screen. His mind is totally taken by this screen and nothing else. When he looks up, he sees the beauty around him and immediately has to relay this to the screen. He takes a photograph and posts it onto his screen.

In his minds eye, he imagines that people like him are interacting with him. A whole network of activity going on.

For a reason beyond his imagination, this man’s interaction comes to an end. He stops for a moment and unable to relax into that moment and be absorbed into what is going on around him, he gets up from the bench and leaves. The fact is that he cannot stay and absorb nature there. His mind is too active. He must go. The next idea on the list, in line with his habitual thinking, would be to have a coffee. The walk along the lake to the cafeteria, is a long way on. The sun bakes down. By the time he gets to have his coffee, he is parched like a lobster. He only notices this when he takes his shirt off to have a shower before retiring to bed later on.

Before going to sleep, he opens his flat screen and connects with his imaginary friends. He sees pictures of beautiful lakes, seascapes, artworks. Oh, how beautiful the world is. But he cannot remember what he saw that day under the tree. He knows that he is a nature man. He loves to walk in nature. He does not of course remember that his best friend is a flat screen and his imagination. The real birds, fish in the lakes, bugs on the ground, wind in his face, water on his skin...neither of these have impacted long enough for him to become friends with them. His flat screen, has supplied all of this for him.

When there is a petition to sign, with regards to some or other international natural concern, he is there to sign. He cares about Syria, Africa, destruction of the Amazon, oil devastation, Fracking and human rights. As a matter of fact he knows more about what is going on, than people who aren’t connected to the internet. He also feels so helpless about the affairs of this world. He sees neighbours and friends and people he has never seen, go through financial crisis. He reads about the earth dying and experiences the extreme climatic changes occurring. He feels so helpless. But he does feel connected. He also cannot see that his feeling of connection also lies in his imagination. This imagined connection has replaced the connection he had with nature before he got a portable flat screen internet connection. He actually cannot even remember how it was without his imagined connectedness. He has never asked himself  whether he can actually smell that cappuccino he sees on the flat screen.

But he loves his screen dearly, more than he loves the weather. If the weather is lousy, his flat screen is there. Whatever the situation, he always finds access to his screen.

He does not even need to see too many people. And if he does. then the most comfortable way to interact is to make the mind activate in some way. He only knows how good it feels to be on a buzz with other people. He does not relate a deactivated and half drunk or stoned mind, to being an active one, which it is. Never the less, his situation continues habitually.

When he was younger he used to ask questions about what life was all about. Now he does not have to. Everything is there for him at the tip of his fingers and this has helped him to be able to stick his head under the sand and let the world go by. He can see the world, but has lost contact with it.

He is comfortable. He has a house with most of the comforts. His business turns over readily and in turn he can sustain his comfortable lifestyle. He feels fortunate given how things are going on in the world. He has adapted a stance in life. He believes that one must live in the moment because that is all there is. His moment, ticks over. A few bumps here and there but not enough to turn the whole apple cart. He knows by now, at the age of seventy, that too much questioning, too much looking can get one into trouble. So he keeps his distance. And his flat screen and wine, are his two good companions.

He is comfortably numb.

 

 

Posted by Adrian Setterfield on 7/29/12







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