Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:April 13th, 2006 13:21 EST
Any Similarity To Actual Persons

Any Similarity To Actual Persons

By Sean Stubblefield

I have observed that many people of Western civilization give off a vibe of having become rather desensitized, subdued, and exhausted by the cumulative affairs of modern day reality. They tend not to be impressed with or by much of anything, anymore. They aren`t easily or quickly moved to action. It seems to me that our society typically looks at our reality and world events like we are watching a movie. As if this thing we call life were seen as part of a TV show " not quite real, not quite surreal, but somehow insubstantial. It doesn`t really " matter, having no relation to actual reality, as we see it " and, therefore, can and should be easily dismissed-- attentions diverted, and invested, as if channel/ web surfing. Considering the expanding variety of information (re)sources that we are ordinarily and frequently inundated with in our high-tech society, maybe we are suffering an attrition of our attention spans, caused by information overload. The Information Age has provided us with too much information, and it is wearing us down and out. Conversely, and simultaneously, exacerbating the problem, in the competition for our attention, such a steady stream of data exposure may be habituated, requiring an increasing dosage to stimulate or satisfy us. A vicious, destructive cycle is formed, which feeds on itself.

It may also have something to do with the fact that the majority of our contemporary lives is experienced through the video screens of television and computers. Very little of our experience with the world beyond our own immediate lives is obtained directly, but is instead mediated, filtered and formatted by TV and computer screens. The video screen is now our primary source and mode of information, a fundamental and prominent aspect of our information distribution and processing. When we are accustomed to treating screen-presented material as equivelant to being real, derivative and separate from direct experience, how can the life we see and live through these screens not acquire a degree and sense of being somewhat inauthentic or artificial? Through inadvertent conditioning, everything shown on these screens is perceived as entertainment, or unrelated to our life in a meaningful way. Particularly in a world where there is a proliferation of talk shows, reality TV, game shows, infotainment and tabloid news on television " alongside and in addition to the usual consciously recognized fictional shows, maybe subconsciously it`s getting harder for many of us to maintain or determine the distinction between real and unreal, or even care enough to distinguish.

Much of our news and entertainment comes from cable TV and/ or the internets. We should also take into account video and computer games " another screen based entertainment media, which often blurs the line, for many players, between actual and pretend by trying to simulate and substitute reality. Perhaps, in some perverse manner, the on-screen reality appears more real, or ultra-realistic, as well, by virtue of being virtual " because it does come to us through TV and computers. By comparison, the real " world could seem less real, because we are so used to seeing reality on a screen. Because of all these reasons, there is a kind of impression or attitude that the occurrences of the reality we see around us aren`t really happening, isn`t really happening to us, but is instead really " happening to someone else, to everyone else, to anyone else. That on-screen reality pertains to an externally projected, unreal people in some alternate, fictitious reality on the other side of the screen, and we`re just spectators, a passive and captive audience " so we don`t need to take it seriously, don`t need to get involved, don`t need to care about whatever the hell`s going on in that (other) reality.

And so, government officials can do or not do whatever they want, and that`s ok, because none of it is real, not really important " or at least not as real or as important as the more immediate concerns of MY life. It`s not appropriate for me/ us to ever actually have to do something about anything, since it`s all just a kind of TV show. Besides, I`m much too busy with ME and mine to worry about such trivial " intangibles as the Big Picture. That`s not MY job. I`m no more capable of effecting change in this world than I am in my favorite TV show. So no point in getting involved. I`ll just change the channel, instead of myself, or heaven forbid " the world.

Case in point, the discovery and translation of the Judas Gospel was recently announced to the public. Like the Gnostic Gospels of the Nag Hammadi texts, it was revealed to the public, and like the Gnostic Gospels, the Gospel of Judas simply didn`t register in the collective consciousness as being something relevant. All of these texts illuminate new details about Jesus (and by extension Christianity), contradictory to the common Christian party line, and both discoveries were dutifully mentioned in the news... but only routinely, and then summarily dismissed as nothing more important than any other news report, or merely an academic curiosity not fit for public concern or consumption. The world just shrugged, stared blankly in uncomprehension, and went about its business, as if an unveiling of this magnitude didn`t happen, as if the new information were inconsequential and ultimately meant nothing to the world. One would think that, especially in a culture that is supposedly fundamentally Judeo-Christian, such a stunning and extraordinary revelation would warrant and attract more than passing interest. Even the non-Christian heathens or less devout and non-practicing Christian-minded folks might be expected to recognize and appreciate the significance this has on Christianity, on history. One could assume that some significance would have been attributed to these documents, yet collectively none was. The message and mentality demonstrated here is essentially, We don`t care about anything but fulfilling the status quo of our daily routines and rituals. "

There was barely any acknowledgement exhibited in the general community, and that was only momentary and superficial. No collective crisis of faith, revolution, shock or awe, outrage, excitement, intrigue, celebration or discussion " but a great deal of indifference and boredom. The historical truth about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior â„¢, becomes widespread public knowledge, accessible to the public, disputing and discrediting Orthodox Christianityâ„¢ and The Holy Roman Catholic Church â„¢ " and no one cares?! This is of no interest to the mainstream population? Amazing. What does it take?

If Jesus Christ ever did return, I wonder how many people would actually care, and if he would be as enthusiastically welcomed by the world now as he was 2000 years ago. Even though the majority of people, even in our so-called secular Western society, claim to still believe in God, in some form, who among us are truly ready, willing and able to accept the reality of something so profound and significant as being confronted with the existence of a genuine, corporeal Jesus? Would such a reality be too overwhelming, too unreal " for us to believe? So much so that we, instead, choose to reject, deny and condemn it for having the audacity to disturb us, or daring to be contrary to what we believe or want to be real?

Or would we acknowledge the fact with no more interest, or attribute it no more significance, than we would the news on CNN? Would we be as cavalierly accepting and dispassionate about it as a weather report that doesn`t affect us? Would we simply dismiss this as being too preposterous, too blasphemous, too fantastic to be within realm of what we understand " as the real world ", refusing to acknowledge it as valid or legitimate?

Or would we simply be too mollified and apathetic to pay it any attention, or even bother to notice?