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August 05, 2003

The Wonder of It All

Our society's obsession with the portrayal of death, especially violent death, in the media is a product of the compression of time in our modern, data-driven world. We experience our daily lives mostly at a survival level, barely able to keep up with the inflow of information from TV, phones, road signs, advertisements, etc. But we instinctively know that there is more to the mind and life than the daily drudgery of work-sleep-eat.

To feel alive, we must be constantly reminded that we are mortal, that death is inevitable and, in many cases, painful. Only in this way can our inundated consciousness verify to itself its own existence. The hunger to be alive and appreciate the mere fact of existence paradoxically feeds the need to vicariously experience death on TV and in the movies for a society moving much too quickly to reach this level of consciousness by more peaceful and contemplative means, such as meditation or religious experience.

We therefore choose the easy way--the smelling salt of the mind, if you will--to jar ourselves into a temporary state of appreciation for the simple fact that we exist at all. Only those lucky enough to be more attuned to the magic of the daily business of living--artists, poets, priests, that weird lady who owns the flower store--get to the end of their lives knowing that to be alive is not an intermittent experience, but a minute-by-minute, day-by-day focus on the wonder and beauty of it all.

Posted by tat at August 5, 2003 02:13 PM

Though you made some valid points, I actually find that I am more and more avoiding media presentations so full of pain and death. Life, in and of itself, is sufficiently full of pain and disappointment....why introduce more in the name of feeling alive? Rather, I'm reminded of my gift of life when my 7-year old is sitting in my lap, and I bury my nose in his hair as if to smell his very essence......when I examine an unlikely, wonderful friendship that came to be at a time when I needed a friend the most (I believe she was a gift from God to see me through the road that lay ahead).....when I turn over in the bed and find myself next to my husband's warm body, and I'm thankful that he loves me as I am.....these are my reminders of the wondrous gift of life.

Posted by: Susan at August 10, 2003 03:02 PM