Announcer: Hello everyone.
I understand that some of us just get old and tired. Some of us simply wind down and no longer need to hunt or mate – our attraction to colors and scents becomes dulled and our desires fade.
But while you sit there at your screen, new and life-enhancing experiences are bursting around you like fireworks and champagne corks as you sit, medicated and complacent.
I speak to you now, not as an artist, but as an entertainer. I come from a long line of entertainers. I am the 9-year-old giving the newscast from a cardboard television, I am playing the piano against the saloon wall, and blowing through a saxophone with an open case on a snowy Chicago street corner. I am Chaplin and Jagger and Jackson and Travolta. And as much as “artists” hate to admit it, sometimes we have to get up in front of people and “entertain” in order to make them aware (or make the rent).
We are awakened in the middle of the night, scrambling for our journals or sketchbooks as the lyrics, dialogue, melodies and images blossom in our heads like lightning. We would sell or pawn everything we owned for access to a studio or equipment that would help us flesh out our vision. And, finally, we are here at the club or concert hall, having rehearsed the show a thousand times or more. Having set up the lights and microphones and amplifiers and promoted tonight’s performance out of our own pocket, hearts beating wildly, hoping you saw the handbills, waiting for you to arrive.
But you sit there – on your couch or at your kitchen counter, sleepily re-focusing your eyes between commercial breaks. Or maybe you’re at the bar right now, and maybe there’s a band playing directly behind you, yet your eyes are still glued to the screen.
We know it’s not your fault. We know that you are shown, told and reminded every second of every day what a dangerous, filthy, contagious and most importantly, evil, world we live in. And for all the medicine and modern miracles we have created, our technology has only intensified our despair and loneliness and heightened the level of distraction.
Modern architecture once made it possible to house the public theatre, radio waves then gave us cliffhanger serial dramas, the cathode ray gave us televangelism and MTV, and now the mobile internet makes it possible to stay plugged-in, turned on and marketed-to at all times.
Granted, this is indeed how I am able to speak to you now. But our development (at all stages and on all levels) is being stunted by the consumption of junk media. If we expect to grow, develop, evolve, we must find a balance between alternating states. Prayer alone is pathological, but when combined with real-life experience through the senses will eventually lead to enlightenment. The pendulum of contemplation and action inevitably leads to illumination. But we seem to be on our knees, stalled in constant prayer, in front of our television screens and computer monitors, drooling and frozen, too frightened to touch the screen or engage in the world around us.
Our children are now “diagnosed” as inattentive or withdrawn, given experimental and patentable medications for contrived and well-named diseases, yet still taught to fear others (especially those that look or act differently). They even fear themselves, their own potential and their own bodies. Nowadays, it is considered shocking to have a natural childbirth or to leave your doors unlocked at night. We are simply not shown how to love and we are not encouraged to heal.
An Orwellian future (where our rights may have been forcibly stripped from us by Big Brother) is not upon us after all. As it turns out, the future is brave, new and Huxleyan – and we have contentedly given up our rights and our privacy to our smiling leaders (sometimes, they’re even actors) in exchange for government-sanctioned drugs, artificially-flavored food and mindless entertainment.
I challenge you now to stand up. To resist the influence of the mainstream media and their attempt to seduce and control your mind, and the minds of your children, by aiming their campaigns directly at your stomach and sex organs. You must even promise to turn me off. I beg of you, turn me off, walk outside and consider your place in the Cosmos – this nested hierarchy of clustered galaxies and sub-atomic particles – infinitely up and down, out and in. And you, here in the center of it all.
Try to be present in that moment. Try to be witness to your body and your emotions arising around you. And then remember “e pluribus, unum” – out of many, one. We are all connected by a somewhat-ordered system of electrons, spirit and dark matter that somehow holds itself together in different forms. One source, different masks. And some of us are so bold as to give this thing a name.
I think the very least we can do is slow down long enough to entertain someone else’s vision of the universe.