Saturday, January 14, 2006

# 120: Need More Entertainment?

If the vast majority of people in the world have one desire in common, it is that they like to be entertained in a variety of different ways. I ask this question: Why? I am certain there is a multitude of answers. But is there one ingrained, underlying reason? I will explore that question in this section.

Could it be that intelligent beings were originally meant to live in a utopian environment with such carefree surroundings that there would be no need for physical or mental exertion, no cares, worries, heartaches, pain, etc.? Isn’t that the reason we love to go on our escape-type vacations? Could that be the type of permanent lifestyle we are all subconsciously seeking? Our intellect says, “Yes, that is what we desire, and we won’t rest contently until we somehow take hold of it.”

Well, life on earth is far from being free of responsibilities and the consequences of bad luck or flawed living. Therefore, whenever we get a chance, we attempt to escape into a world of “forget-your-troubles-come-on-get-happy.” And that is understandable. No one wants or needs all the pressures this world puts on us. We truly have a need to get into a make-believe world where we can just be bystanders and let our imagination and fantasies go where they will. That is one of the reasons for our love of entertainment.

There is at least one problem: our need/desire for entertainment, which actually is an escape from our humdrum reality, is extremely addicting. Some will say, “So what?” In the last fifty years or so, all the electronic advances—especially the invention of the transistor, which made vacuum tubes obsolete—have given way to a plethora of make-believe entertainment. Others will say, “The better for us.” Not necessarily so. Here is one of the negative results of make-believe entertainment: Much of what we see, hear, or learn is forgotten, but when all that stuff somehow retreats into our subconscious, it becomes a permanent, though hidden, fixture. Then, the SCARY TRUTH is that the subconscious cannot differentiate between what actually happened in one’s life and the make-believe. It vicariously takes the make-believe and converts it to or accepts it as one’s reality. It, for some reason, makes the bystanders (us) into the participants (those we are watching). The result is that many times we make decisions, often lifelong decisions, according to what our subconscious adamantly and sometimes foolishly dictates.

A famous songwriter once arrogantly boasted, “Let me control a person’s music and I will control his/her life.” Another ancient adage that has been accepted as truth is, “We become like those we gaze at.” And still, “Monkey see, monkey do.” What I am attempting to put forth is that we are unaware that our lives are insidiously being controlled and shaped, to a large extent, by our entertainment. Also, and just as harmful, we are shaped to some degree by our peers, who are controlled by their entertainment. That is a one-two punch. We can vividly see this in the lives of the young. But it is also slyly taking place in all of us. Don’t think advertisers and those who desire to subvert moral values, for selfish reasons, are not aware of how vulnerable we humans are by the workings of our somewhat parasitic subconscious. We couldn’t exist without our subconscious—IT IS WHAT WE ARE—but wish it wouldn’t take the pretend drama to heart.

If the above is true, and it is, what are we to do? We are addicted whether we admit it or not. We all know how difficult addictions are to break, especially those we enjoy so much. Here is one reason why: Our entertainment gives us what we believe we need. It takes no effort to engage in, it excites us, pampers us, inspires us, lulls or tranquilizes us, makes us laugh, it may even anger us, etc. Actually, much of our entertainment has the ability to arouse every possible human emotion–good or bad. Is it correct for me to say that our most influential and persuasive lifelong teacher may be our entertainment? Could I also say that we look forward to/live for the entertainment portions of our lives, more so than most other activities? Attempt to imagine how your lives would be if suddenly all entertainment was removed from your lives. If anyone does not value their entertainment, please send me a comment.

Since this is a Christian blog, the question remains: How must a person that claims to be a genuine Christian respond to the aforementioned negative information? Just shrug it off as just a bunch of stupid theories from a radical with nothing on his mind but to upset peaceable people? Although that statement is false, it is true that the lives of many Christians may need a little bit of shaking up because of how they may be living. Of course, your church pastor knows better than to become a killjoy by telling anyone the potential harm entertainment can have in lives that are supposedly dedicated to doing the work of Jesus Christ.

The most important piece of advice, which can be given to anyone who values their relationship with God, is this: There is an inward gnawing in us for something that cannot be pacified by entertainment, though we may be unaware of it. Entertainment and other things of value in life cannot gratify that inner part of us which only God’s presence can occupy and truly satisfy. Without some of us knowing it, we were inherently created as living vehicles for only God to occupy. But when God is not inwardly present to give us the peace, tranquility, contentment, and especially the completeness which we inherently desire, we go to the ends of the earth in an attempt to find a substitute. Additionally, there are many other worldly things we do to relieve that gnawing, but all is in vain. If any Christian doesn’t believe the harm entertainment will do, no problem. This is all I ask: Meditate on this subject for a while, and bring it up with your Christian friends and family. When one contemplates why we enjoy being entertained, it will become an obvious fact that what has been written in this post is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

No, Christians don’t need more entertainment; we need much less. For anyone who adores Jesus Christ, it is a crying shame to waste precious time on entertainment when we could be engaged in activities which enrich our lives and the lives of others with constructive activities which glorify God, such as actively making Christ our life.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting topic. Something to think about though. Hasn't God given each person different talents, and isn't the gift of entertainment a talent? I believe it is. So if God gave a person this ability and God's plan is for them to share the ability. Who would they entertain if Christians are supposed to not be entertained, so the Christians would have more time to seek God.
If we take this one step further, why are Christians working at all? Because my work takes about 8 hours of my day away that I could be spending with God. Work though isn't wrong at all because Adam in the Garden was given work to do, and that place was perfect.
So entertainment is not evil, as most everything in the world is not evil, in moderation, as long as your focus stays on God and you seek his will.

JC said...

Sith Scout

Thanks for your comment. You make a good point. I would only add this: if the Christian entertainment was up building, (something that allows the audience to come closer to Christ), I would agree with you. Only one thing, there is some music that is called “christian” and played in churches for the young crowd, that has a satanic beat. And if not satanic, the type of beat that stirs up the sensual emotions. Therefore, everything that is called Christian entertainment is not spiritually constructive but debilitating for the listeners.

As to your second point. Again I have to agree with you. And yet I have to say there is a difference between employment that is necessary and of leisure that could be avoided. If one is employed, he/she has an obligation to support whoever (self or family). As to working 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, if the genuine Christian would consider cutting back on expenses, those 40 hours a week could be reduced; thus having more time to devote to the things of Jesus Christ. Of course, not everyone who calls themselves Christians, my not feel this is necessary or constructive. The question remains, what is the main priority in one’s life? Is it Jesus Christ, or self and family? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Luke 10:27