— O.M.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles…

The "1984" commercial for "Macintosh". Directed by Ridley Scott.

I have just got off a 13-hour long direct flight from Dubai to Sydney. Together with the connecting 6-hour flight, it was an excruciatingly long experience, but luckily it was operated by a high-quality airline which, of course, is a good companion for a long-haul like this. However, this short elaboration will not be about airliners. It will be about people and their expectations on what “being entertained” actually means.

The reason I am even stopping to type these words is only a side-effect of this homeland journey. On a long flight like these, every seat of the enormous airplane is equipped with an in-seat entertainment centre,  usually offering a variety of movies, tv shows, video games and etc. I looked around, just to observe the other passengers in the cabin, and I discovered (rather unsurprisingly) that all these people were obsessively drooling over the screens in front of them, being fed with a huge portion of new-age passive entertainment. Practically everyone, apart from the lovely gentleman next to me (who was happy with only his little book, an occasional bite and some coffee – a very fine man, I must say), everyone was hypnotically attached to their screens. Quite an orwellian sight, one could say.

There were families with children, old & young travellers, and many others. I was most interested in a family sitting right in front of me – a father, mother and a teenage son – they barely exchanged any words during the flight. They were all stuck to their screens, reenacting the classic “couch & TV” family scene. The american dream, where all you need to do is just sit down and let the media force-feed content down your throat. One then seems to slowly lose certain values, and transcend to a screen-induced “vegetative state of existence”. The brain leaves the body, as it seems no longer needed.

That’s what modern entertainment does. It effects our consciousness and limits our independence. Social guidelines and conventions are no longer implemented and passed through education and institutions, but rather through mass-medial forms such as television and social media. We are no longer encouraged to think and be challenged while being entertained. An intelectual challenge is no longer a desired effect for the modern man.

Ultimately it was a single observation that struck the core: The father of this family was watching a cartoon. A cartoon that was probably only intended for five-year-old children. That, indeed, shows a prime example of what we are facing:
There obviously & unfortunately is no more need for intellectual challenges. We have given up. We are no longer looking to exceed ourselves – and that, in any case, is critical.

People are becoming helpless hordes and yet America still sees the television as a holy altar. Where do we go from here?







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