A Curious Distraction

Whether we look in the moment or with preconceived notions.

*To visit, travel, and view with present eyes.

                On occasion, while reading a book or writing, I have had the television on as well, though the sound is off.  Yes, I have been asked why I left the set on while reading.  Actually, with the FIFA World Cup and the later college football games, I sometimes am keeping track even though I am also reading a book:  or two.  I suppose, to some, that’s a curious habit.  Ah… what is life without whimsy and personality quirks? 

                But I’ve been noticing something.  I actually understand more what’s going on in these games with the sound off.  Out of curiosity, during one football game, I counted the number of “additions” (side story clips) between downs.  For instance, from first down to second down, and so forth, I noticed an average of 5 camera changes, the information pouring through the set like there’s no tomorrow.  However, after having kept the sound off for some time, I found all those additional information pieces “odd.”  Tons of distractions, side stories, retells, and so forth.  Like they didn’t want the audience one moment of calm.  Not a second would pass quietly. How much commentary do we need?

                We see a similar thing with commercials.  Instead of the long commercials we grew up with, we see shorter, faster, and constantly changing camera spots:  no time to ponder the advertisement.  Television shows have constantly changing angle shots and additions.  Curious.  And new movies!  Then, we also have people on their iphones and such.  Never-ending pouring of information.

                We ponder the value of all that information.  Watching far less shows these past months, never on the Smart Phone except to make or receive calls, turning off commercials, working on stepping stones, fishing, the garden, and more, I wonder how much of what we see and hear has any value.  Or just to keep distracted.  Perhaps keeping us moving in preconceived directions. Just a way of things in these times.  *Einstein spoke and wrote about the efforts to distract back in his days.

**One of Louis L’Amour’s well-researched stories, tying history, geography, politics, and an interesting story in one book. I read it last year, knowing I would read it anew.

                This is a well-recommended book.  There is much I could go into, our own history tied with another country, geographical information, political view-points, and more, but this is more for readers to discover along the way.

                The basic story line is of a United States Air Force pilot becoming a prisoner in Russia, caught for the information he has, and the long venture to be free again.   And within all of this is woven the lives of other people and their concerns. 

                I must say though, like many, I’m probably a “critical” reader:  in the sense that I enjoy the story, appreciate thoughtful writing, more so if it ties real aspects of life as was in this novel.  I suppose that’s also why I like reading Albert Einstein’s writings for, in those pages, I believe in one who truly is looking to understand and communicate.  Not that I agree with all of his viewpoints, but that I sense one who looks at issues from many angles, including his experiences, and genuinely shares what he feels are salient points, encouraging others to truly talk, discuss, and share. 

And that, in part, is how I see the importance of a less-distracted life. I imagine, alone in his work studio, figuring equations, the time also allowed to ponder other areas of life. And as he engaged the social world, he also reflected upon real experiences. 

                Returning to the original focus in this article, I believe we’re more and more losing the ability to ponder.  Pondering, as I see it, has nothing to do with noise, information, and distraction.  Everybody thinks, all of the time, and people do ponder, wonder, but often not from an original place for lack of a better description.  Yes, the noise in our heads are often “borrowed” from the media, distractions, and so forth. I actually think far too may people don’t know how to be alone, less distracted, and pondering their days.

                For instance, and I’m no soccer expert (I only played on a co-ed team for one year, as an adult, but coached little league for ten or twelve.  I was a horrible coach early on, but learned such that our teams were competitive, twice being in the top two.).  However, like many couch potato fans, I can often see which teams will win, or go far, and which won’t, by the way they position, play, and work the games:  in all facets.  Individual skills and determination.  Set pieces.  Working together.  Attention.  And more.

                For instance, and people can judge for themselves.  In the FIFA World Cup, Brazille has it over everyone.  Why?  Because the players are experienced, many crazy in their playing, pass like no tomorrow (Fanstastic at one-touch passing.), know one another, and have the answer for most situations.  Uruguay is good.  Portugal is good.  I don’t think the United States will move past the quarter finals, if they get there, but certainly will not be in the finals.  Why?  Their passing, while good, needs work.  Their play is predictable.  With Brazille, no one knows what they might do and they keep the pressure on all of the time, relaxing to lull the other team into making mistakes.  But all aspects of the game are improving.  France is very good, and they might win again, but currently, we see a couple hitches that need correcting if they are to win it all.

                And that’s what, in a sense, we’re discussing in this article.  Real observations.  Real noticing.  Learning.  Not noise.  Not distractions.  Not emotion-based commentary. Not being a media piece for their propaganda.  Like, when reading the above book, later looking up information to determine the accuracy of historical information.  Certainly, we can see, Louis L’Amour did his homework.  But in reading his book, along with other authors, it lends information from which to read some of Albert Einstein’s letters and writings on the topic.  While in certain arenas, he knows a ton more, we can also realize his life kept him from the experiences of those he could have learned more.  He encouraged decision-making by intellectuals, but practical experiences have much to add. But none of us are perfect. 

                Following the rabbit of reason along the trail of understanding.


2 thoughts on “A Curious Distraction

  1. I believe you are spot on: all of the information bombarding us is designed to “keep us moving in preconceived directions.” Your post is a great reminder to identify and put aside borrowed ideas/opinions (much easier said than done) and ponder from an original place (as original as one can be while using language, which is, in its nature as a shared medium of communication, not original).

    Liked by 1 person

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