Saturday, July 2, 2016

Collecting versus Broadcasting

In the nineteen fifties, kids collected things. Collecting was popular hobby. Perhaps the most popular thing boys bought and traded were baseball cards; I collected stamps and minerals. Matchbox toys, dolls, marbles, commemorative pins, coins, model cars, photos of movie and singing stars, miniature soldiers — the list of things kids collected was a long one. 
Inside our home and the homes of many friends was a “party room.” They were large rooms with a single dominant architectural feature: A bar. In those bars, I saw some things adults collected: Beer bottles, bottle caps, matchboxes, coasters, etc.
Then television came into our homes and everything changed. Childhood entertainment went from active to passive and from a focus on artifacts of pleasure and others to an obsession with the self.
Worse: Instead of absorbing information about others and our world, we broadcast digital avatars as unreal as the Photoshopped images that surround us, driven by dissatisfaction with our real lives.
Almost every one of my true friends has ended or begun a sentence in conversation with me with this phrase: “You have so many friends.” I would always dispute their impression, always to no avail; they remained resolute in their impression. What I had, was many acquaintances. Here’s why: I was constantly changing jobs.
In humans, I have always felt that the purpose of sex was twofold. One, obviously, is procreation. The other is to function like glue. It serves to hold our interest in a potential partner whilst we get to know their personality.
In friendships, the glue that binds us during the discovery process is not sex it’s something that we value and have in common – a behavior, an illness, a skill, a location, etc.—and for someone like me who has lived in other cities and held a lot of short-term contracts/positions, the acquisition of acquaintances is easy. I had tons of them. But true friends are rare and I thank God every day for those I have.

My friends are now seeing that I was right. I only see one or two friends a week so I am back to collecting. I seek and collect digital images like these to post on this blog:

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