Have you noticed it? The iPod earplugs sticking out of everyone’s ears as they walk down the street, ride in their cars, shop at the mall, sit at their house. The best term I can think of for this is iPodaciousness (from the latin acious meaning “full of”), but feel free to email me your better word. I am no master of linguistic lore.
This iPodaciousness is beginning to bother me for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it is simply rude. Someone walks by and you call their name. No answer. Oh, they must be listening to music. You beep at someone, they don’t hear you. Oh, they must be listening to music. Someone walks right in front of you. No big deal, they must be listening to music.
But really all that is secondary. The real problem lies in that people are completely filling every idle moment with music—and not just background music. Music that takes over all other sounds and thoughts. When do these people think? Well, you usually think when you are alone and either 1) don’t have anything else to do or 2) make time for it. For many throughout history this thinking time has been morning time, through reading, praying, and walking. But not many of us make time for any of those anymore. We read book summaries or listen to abridged audio books instead of reading. We almost never think to pray. And of course, when we do walk, we must listen to music. It would be a waste of time simply to just walk and think. So we habitually slip on the headphones and walk, hoping we don’t step right in front of a semi.
However, there is, as I can see it, one advantage to all of this. Silence. In my neighborhood, the locals spend (literally) much delight in their loud bass car systems. However, yesterday I saw one of those locals have a car that was completely quiet. I stared in shock. Then I realized why it was silent—he had iPod earbuds in! So he can now blow out his own eardrums and not mine. Yes, that is quite an advantage–at least for me.
My point in all this is to exhort myself—and you—to think about when we give ourselves time to think and meditate. Do you do it in the morning, when everyone else is sleeping? Do you do it in the evening? Lunch break? Weekends? Or is all your time spent filling yourself up with music, entertainment, frivolity? Do you read good and thoughtful books? Do you give yourself time to think about spiritual things? Do you talk about important topics (other than current news events) with others? Have you considered that the reason you don’t know what to think about an issue is truly because you never have really thought about it? It is my hope and prayer that we will consider these types of questions and strive to be a thoughtful people.