Drifting little monads we, each of us alone together in our microscopic corner of the universe. We have group allegiances and group responsibilities but modern life assures us we are each by ourselves in our own little boats, rowing away. Like most of life on earth we respond to light, feel comfortable at a certain temperature, and don’t want to work too hard for food. Once safety and sustenance are secured, the problem becomes how to pass the time. This has become a major dilemma for ‘modern man.’
Primitives of all sorts -- hunter-gatherers, farmers, and almost anyone putting in a full day using their hands won’t generally require a lot of recreation and may not need to be entertained with background music throughout the day. They’re physically and mentally engaged, using their senses, and time passes for them, not a problem. It’s people like you stuck in traffic, eating tasteless lunches, following the circular banter of the news who are starving, staggering, in search of something to make time move along. Sidewalk preaching? well of course, it’s what we do here but don’t expect miracles. Simple mechanics is all we are.
We all like to pay attention, and we feel pleasure when we do, but it’s not so easy. With access to everything in our pocket we are still oh so easily bored, and the fog rolls in. One strategy is to make it really loud, with pyro and strobe lights, but that only takes care of a couple of hours at a time and makes the rest of the week even more of a drab pastel. Travel, sex, and exotic cuisine each inspire enhanced awareness momentarily but have their limits. What’s needed is something interesting enough to pay attention to even when we’re used to it, and that’s a tall order. Almost all of it fades toward the background, and the ‘new car smell’ leaves every possession sooner or later, except for art. Actually, that’s how you can tell you’ve bought a good piece -- because worthy art doesn’t get old like everything else.