Sorry, No Time
Busy. We're all so involved with our jobs and
routines, hobbies and parties, we've got nothing left. Sorry, no time, we
tell ourselves so often. It's too cold outside (or too hot), we got stuck
on the way to work (again), we've been victimized by the "system"
(again), the pressures and demands have been too great for us to volunteer
subjection to yet another involvement.
It wasn't always thus. Men and women, even working people,
were not always victims of the frantic and frenetic pace of urban modern
times. Think of the length of Shakespeare plays or romantic operas. And how
about human relations before the telephone and other mass media? Consider
the art of correspondence, or, if not the art, at least the almost universal
practice. It was for centuries the most widely used form of communication,
and not the exclusive sport of the leisured literati, either. True, it took
time to consign your thoughts to ink and paper. But it also sharpened the
ideas and brought forth the uniqueness of the writer's personality and profile.
Today's correspondent is the exception, not the rule. It's easier to pick
up your Touch Tone telephone and be instantly gratified by your party's voice.
And who, after the draining drudgery of the day's labors,
can pore over a weighty tome without dozing off? How convenient is our television
which gives us everything from sitcoms to high drama, and handily boils what
we need to know of the news into Eyewitness Reports!
So, silently and swiftly, without our really realizing what
has happened, our society has been converted from humanistic to technological.
A world of doers and makers has chosen to become spenders and consumers,
leaving creation and creativity to the skilled hands of the "professionals."
But what a price we are paying for the comforts which our technology has
wrought! Our very ability to concentrate has been eroded, except perhaps
for that parochial concentration we are expected to show on our jobs. In
a time which offers us more data, more information than any in man's history,
we seem to be least able to use these resources for our self-development,
for the building of more effective, happier, more peaceful lives. Our world
has taught us to take, but have we forgotten how to give?
Involvement, human, artistic, or ideological, is based on
the ability to pour oneself into a subject, on the compulsion to give of
one's self. Should we not husband our energies to withstand the temptation
of routine's tedium?
Sorry, no time.