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Emotional Junk Food

By Maggie Turner


Tuesday, March 21, 2000

Emotional Junk Food

 

Yesterday I meant to write about the charms of a quiet life. The issue of boredom was addressed instead. However, boredom is not unrelated to my intended topic. External excitement is unnecessary in order to maintain an excitement for life. I wished to eliminate the issue of boredom as relevant to a quiet life.

Nevertheless, it seems I have not finished with boredom. Boredom, as experienced by many people, is really a form of loneliness. A basic human need is a feeling of belonging. A feeling of belonging is not an easy thing to achieve; it requires the involvement of other people. Modern technology has provided us with "The Media" (television, magazines, newspapers, radios). "The Media" provides us with quick fixes and a desire for "15 minutes of fame" that act as emotional "junk food" (lots of calories but lacking in nutritional value). They provide us with lots of information about other people; they allow us to know that we have something in common with other people; they do not help us connect with other people on a human level in our daily lives. As with "junk food", the more we have from "The Media" the needier and more bloated we become.

The world becomes an interesting place when one feels a sense of belonging. Details, that escape us when we approach life with an agenda of need, reveal themselves in glorious and fascinating complexity. Seeing a dewdrop on a leaf of grass can be enjoyed briefly and fully and the experience lost to posterity without guilt.

Many writers have identified the feeling of isolation that humans experience living in "modern" cultures. There are many theories and some brilliant descriptions. It remains though, to the small and insignificant humans to construct an environment where concern, acceptance, and involvement provide a sense of belonging to willing participants. "The Media" and the experts cannot help us here; we can only help ourselves.


 

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