Every day, it seems, a new product appears that makes life easier or more enjoyable. We've got microwave ovens, cellular phones, PDAs, wireless internet (things that save time) and interactive DVD, music filesharing, movie theaters, public transportation, TiVo ...
We've erased most conflicts from our lives while, at the same time, increasing our exposure to excitement. We're walking around all day in a blissfully dazed state getting our food handed to us, getting our money from a machine, and buying our sentiments from Hallmark. This gives us more time for fun.
Well, let me tell you something, folks. I believe the human brain needs some regular down time for system maintenance. Time to reflect. Time to filter and sort and process our experiences into the bigger fold of self. And I believe this system maintenance is as necessary and pervasive as The Gentle Giant, sleep.
For every action there is an opposite but equal reaction. Prolonged exposure to intense, incredible experiences will require prolonged silence and reflection to keep the machine of the grey matter chakra cleaned, lubed, and tightened. I think depression is the opposite but equal reaction to modern society and culture.
Like sleep, we can delay our need for reflection by using distractions. But eventually the need becomes greater than our will.
After the survival necessities are taken care of, humans need a few things to be content. Two of those things are progress and downtime. I've already discussed downtime. Now I'll tackle progress.
The only way to progress is to overcome conflict. Something has to be bad before you can make it good. But, like I said earlier, we've removed most of the conflicts from our lives and replaced them with watered-down substitutes. Our need for conflict manifests itself in our entertainment. We enjoy watching movies about other peoples' conflicts. We enjoy playing games which are, at the core, just simulated conflicts.
We spend all day avoiding conflict and saving time and then we go home and immerse ourselves in widescreen interactive digital surround sound simulated conflicts until we pass out. I'm thinking "It's no wonder we're depressed."
But then again I could be wrong. This is coming from a guy who thinks the real reason movies are always different from the books is because of pressure from the teachers' union on movie studios. Teachers need the movies to be different so they can tell the difference between a book report on a book and a book report on a movie.