Day 45, What’s your “vicarious ratio”?

For years now I have explored within myself and observed in others the way we live “vicariously”. I listen to people talk about television shows or series they are addicted to, they chat about this famous person or that one. Today people can binge watch a whole season of a show, becoming so emotionally engrossed with the characters that for a bit they forget the world they are living in. I experience that the viewing can impact their mood and behavior, just as sports impacts others. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good movie, I love an inspirational show, and I welcome the opportunity to learn something new – so I do my share of watching too. 

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“Watching television in those days was not the same experience as it is today. After years of listening to radio, we found the black-and-white images mesmerizing.” ~Annette Funicello

Personally, I contemplate, what will the long term effects be? As I watch my children walk around with their eyes often glued to their phones or some boxed media, I struggle. However, I keep my mouth shut, for I know that the world they are growing up in is very different than the world I grew up in. The world and time I matured in was very different than my parents and we can say this forever, generation after generation. So, where is the line? What is a healthy balance? How is the constant use of technology and media feed going to change us and the next generation?

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“Viewers can’t work or play while watching television; they can’t read; they can’t be out on the streets, falling in love with the wrong people, learning how to quarrel and compromise with other human beings. In short, they are asocial.” ~Pete Hamill

I think for me the biggest struggle is that I see so many people living their lives vicariously through the screen versus engaging in their own life. They are not going out there to create or experience. It seems to be a new way to do life, watch other people. Let’s dream about having all those things and doing all that stuff, but never move out of the chair, except to refill the food bowl and drink cup. It perplexes and frightens me a bit with regard to the long term effects. Are we going to become like “Wall-E” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RcNwlq7JSw, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WALL-E), or “The Giver” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJNNugNe0Wo, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giver) or “The Lorax” (original version – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V06ZOQuo0k)?

It is fun to watch a movie and have some feel good emotions or inspiration. It is nice to just relax and let your brain travel someplace else. I enjoy learning something new that I would not otherwise be exposed to, thanks to the “magical airwaves”. Going to the movies with others and then philosophizing together after, is one of my favorite things to do. As a kid, I loved watching my weekly shows, “Little House On The Prairie”, “The Waltons”, “The Love Boat”, etc… The characters became people in my world. I maybe spent an hour to two in front of the TV and that was not everyday. Today, we are viewing something almost all the time – is this good? Is it bad? Or???

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“This whole thing about reality television to me is really indicative of America saying we’re not satisfied just watching television, we want to star in our own TV shows. We want you to discover us and put us in your own TV show, and we want television to be about us, finally.” ~Steven Spielberg

My curiosity is, what makes some people want to watch others live the dream they want, while others go out to create the dream? Is there benefit in living vicariously through such means? Is there a magic balance between the two? I suppose there might not be a true answer. With the pace of technology inventions there may be no way to measure or evaluate for it is all becoming something new tomorrow. I do wonder, when they look back a 100 years from now, how will they archeologically figure out how we lived? Will they see us as wise or the beginning of the fall?

Vicarious living is a concept I like to explore, we have always done it in one form or another, computer, TV, books, going to a play, a game, etc… It does seem to be one of the ways we learn. My recent concern is, are we so busy watching, we are forgetting how to live?

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“If I hear the word ‘retire,’ it makes me want to throw up. And then do what? Sit around all day watching television?” ~Joan Collins

As you go forth today, I ask you, do you live your life more through vicarious interactions, or engaged personal interactions? If you could create your life movie what would it look like? A.C.T. (always choose truth) with personal engagement today, exploring how you might wish to live and be engaged with your life. Chat with you next week…

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