Sixty Seven: Handing in the Scanner

“We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”   – Terence McKenna

And now please read this quote again. Sheesh. Just when I thought that Terence McKenna was relegated to the annals of my mind where I shelf psychedelic-influenced philosophers, I find this quote and I can’t stop reading it. I like to think that I’ve retained some of that youthful passionate fight for justice, but then I find myself reading about JLaw’s red carpet trip on Oscar night or I’ll find that I’ve completely missed a world news event. I know I’m doing the good work in raising two wonderful little children and that alone forces me to check myself regularly for areas to grow and improve upon, but I feel like I need to do a serious detox of a lot of crap that comes in and out of my life.

I want to be more present in my life. More and more, I see myself fiddling with devices and looking at screens instead of fiddling on a fiddle and looking at faces. So I’ve wrapped up this scanner to send back to some consumer panel; I don’t quite know why I signed up for it in the first place. My husband questioned me several times why I’d volunteer to scan all our groceries’ bar codes, and I couldn’t really say. I guess I figured that I’d be representing a healthy diet in some widespread cultural assessment of diets, but what does that even mean? Couldn’t I pick up a cookbook and cook my family something new instead?

It was some way to be included, I guess, and that’s really sad. It’s sad that we are included because of our consumerism. Every time I shop, I’m asked for my personal contact information so my purchase can be tallied onto some club or rewards service. I’d prefer to be included based on my interest in an ideal, or a cause, or a concept for betterment. I’ll have to sit down and evaluate whether I’m really getting this in my life, or if I need to improve upon that.

How are you being culturally diverted?


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