Saturday, 4 April 2009

For the mind

I just spent the last hour reading a newspaper. I combed through some stories, read others in depth, completed the puzzles (crosswords and other word games). The Toronto Star has a promotion this month, where we get a paper six days a week for free. I am totally aware that this is to lure me into a subscription. In the past I have always declined, as I usually check in online to see what the top stories are.

But I have rediscovered the love affair I had as a teenager with newspapers. I abhor most television and radio news programs, because it seems that the only thing they count as news are horrible personal tragedies, such as car accidents and murders. The more violent, the more sensational, the more coverage. I can see how some of these incidents may be of interest to the public, when it concerns public safety or a larger issue that needs to be taken note of. But I cannot stand seeing or hearing footage of car accidents. It in no way will shape my world view, or inspire something in me, or inform me about something. I suppose it is from this morbid fascination that the following originates: "It's like a car crash - you just can't look away."

This isn't what I wanted to write about. Back to the newspaper. In the past couple of weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about an underground restaurant phenomenon, how Disney markets teen shows to toddlers and a small Spanish town famous for it's cider customs (just a smattering). I've loved doing the puzzles. Instead of clicking on a site and scanning for 30 seconds the news highlights, I've been slowing down and spending time in my world.

Slowing down. (My enlightened mind seems to be meandering.) This has been on my mind a lot lately. I haven't worn a watch in the past few years. I've been learning that there are few places I really need to be at by a certain time. I'm realizing that while planning ahead is the only way to ensure things get done, a rigid schedule is not necessary to accomplish things.

I will be starting my gardening plans soon. When I think of growing my own food, I think of slowing down. It isn't about instantly filling your fridge from the store; it's about planting and caring for and caressing my food into being. It's about starting something now that will not give yield for months. It's about slowing down.

I am reminded of the book "Better off: Flipping the Switch on Technology" - one of my favourite books I've read. I think I'll give it another read. The faster the world around me goes, the more instant things become, the more I feel pulled in another directions, the more I'm resisting.

Another newspaper article captured what I feel happening in the world. "Cirque du Soleil" is presenting a special event for a local summer festival. Here's the description:
"This event is an inquiry into the very essence of human civilization. Beginning Friday night, two “communities” will form on the Toronto waterfront: one representing the natural world in which we have our instinctual roots and the urban community, the world we have constructed around ourselves. They’ll make their homes at opposite ends of the site, each in an environment antithetical to their respective world-view. What will happen as the weekend unfolds and the two communities encounter and interact with each other?"
I am feeling my instinctual roots tugging me back to the natural world. These feelings are not new to people around me - I wonder if they won't be representative of the majority some day soon, and truly lead to a revolution in the way we live. Can we (do we want to) survive the current aggressive thrust by technology?

(Well, I think my newspaper's promotion just may have worked: I might find myself enjoying the luxury of time and a paper more often.)

No comments: