I want to quote something from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
There’s this primary America of freeways and jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars. And people caught in this primary America seem to go through huge portions of their lives without much consciousness of what’s immediately around them. The media have convinced them that what’s right around them is unimportant.
And that’s why they’re lonely.
You see it in their faces. First the little flicker of searching, and then when they look at you, you’re just kind of an object. You don’t count. You’re not what they’re looking for. You’re not on TV.
He goes on to talk about a secondary America you see on the back roads off the main highways. He talks about how you see the real country driving through the back roads.
I had a bit of experience with this driving up to New York taking some crazy back roads thanks to my GPS. It really is a completely different experience.
This touches on two things that I believe are important
1. I hate the negative impact TV has.
Reading this as well as “Bowling Alone” paints a pretty dark picture about what TV can do.
It’s not limited to TV either. It’s any medium that has the ability to destroy social bonds and turn people into solitary creatures. It kills ambition to go socialize. My ambition to do so is low to start with so it would be particularly devastating for me. In a way I think my addiction to Internet entertainment may be somewhat similar to TV that Putnam mentions in Bowling alone. Different technology, same effects. Here I sit alone.
Maybe the nature of this is slightly different though. At the moment I am less of a passive consumer than TV would have me be. Most times on the Internet though are spent in read only mode for me.
2. I like the idea of traveling around and seeing lots of different things.
Who knows if I’d like it in practice. Maybe I’ll find out.
I enjoyed my trip to San Francisco a while back. I liked seeing NYC and Boston. Going through the back country in PA was beautiful. Driving through DC on an early Sunday morning was interesting.
Just some randomness for you. Trying to figure out what this is all about.