Thursday, 21 November 2013
The Great Evil of Entertainment
For a long time, I have been pondering the effect of too much entertainment in the Western cultures. I cannot speak of other cultures, but it is clear to me that the preoccupation with sports, movies, computer games, and other forms of entertainment cause a blindness to the growth of the spiritual life not only among youth, but those of middle age and elderly people.
The seeking of entertainment destroys several aspects of the pursuit of the spiritual life.
I hope my readers can see through these problems and be honest with themselves concerning the amount of time and money which is spent on entertainment.
Bread and circuses killed the Roman Empire, as entertainment became more important that work or the interior life.
People think they need entertainment weekly, even daily. They think they need entertainment.
Now, there are novels and movies which teach morals and may be helpful for people to understand the spiritual life and the need for redemption in humanity. We all know these great books and some of the movies which have been made from them.
However, entertainment takes us away from the real reason we are here, to become holy, to gain salvation, to become one with Christ and to lead others to Christ.
We are addicted to entertainment, which feeds the passive part of us which should used for meditation and contemplative prayer.
I have shared on this blog the great insight of Thomas Merton on the biggest danger of television-that the passivity which one approaches tv is the aspect, the gift of the mind and soul for passive prayer. The television takes over this part of the human soul and mind and perverts the natural course of learning to be passive in the Presence of God.
"I am certainly no judge of television, since I have never watched it. All I know is that there is a sufficiently general agreement, among men whose judgment I respect, that commercial television is degraded, meretricious and absurd. Certainly it would seem that TV could become a kind of unnatural surrogate for contemplation: a completely inert subjection to vulgar images, a descent to a sub-natural passivity rather than an ascent to a supremely active passivity in understanding and love. It would seem that television should be used with extreme care and discrimination by anyone who might hope to take interior life seriously." (86) Seeds of Contemplation
Think of this--that the capacity for contemplation, the capacity which God created in each person for an intimate relationship with Him, has been perverted by television and other passive forms of entertainment.
God created us for Himself, and we must protect our imaginations, minds, souls, bodies from the pollution of false ideals which flood into us through all types of entertainment.
But, more than that, the actual act of passivity, the interaction of the passive and the soul, is being destroyed by this incursion into a part of us created by God to bring us into union with Him.
I want you to ask yourself a few honest questions today.
How much time do I spend on entertainment per week?
How much time do I prepare for going or engaging in entertainment?
How much time do I spend in prayer, learning to be passive before God in order to be purified and to receive His Love?
Do I clutter my imagination and my soul with too many statistics, too many games, too many hours of entertainment?
Do I understand that the greatest stress release is actually prayer and not entertainment?
Does the entertainment I am involved with bring me closer to God, or take me away from God?
Am I willing to give up entertainment in order to become a saint?