When a child looks up to learn astronomy at the city planetarium, he spontaneously invokes a strange new psalm: The ceiling proclaims the glory of man! ~ John Senior, Restoration of a Christian Culture
One of the great paradoxes of modern life is our apparent celebrated connectedness and our deepening disconnect with reality.
A few weeks ago my young family attempted, successfully I might add, to brave the wild and go tent camping for the weekend. Other than a few temporary bad attitudes we had a ton a fun.
As we camped, we were surrounded by people in RV's. Not that it's a bad thing per se, to be comfortable from time to time but in practice some neighbors rarely came out into the daylight. As the myriad cycling ac units continued their effort to keep their clients cool the noise was so much that one could not even hear the birds overhead or even the wind in the trees.
On our first morning, we were treated to another delightful example of just how bad this disconnectedness has gotten.
You need no alarm when tent camping. The sun, has but to think of rising and our biorhythms find their mark.
We awoke, we stretched, said good morning, and broke out the fishing poles. It wasn't even a dozen casts into our day and we were treated to a pair of bald eagles kee-yi-ing to each other on the opposite shore of the lake, alighting from a very tall, dead and debarked Long Pine. Personally, I'm glad Ben Franklin didn't get his wish of the national bird being the turkey.
As we finished up fishing and started breakfast we saw our neighbor to the south. Their RV was the envy of the campground. This shiny, blue, quite large and fancy class c elicited more exclamations of "Congrats!" and "What a beaut!" than all the rest.
But they exhibited strange behavior. They sat lifeless and unmoving, facing away from the lake, and the trees, and the vista, staring into the side of their RV.
Upon closer inspection we discovered that they were watching tv. And not only that but the two of them were on their phone. To our prolonged astonishment there they sat, the entire day and around dinner time, they entered their RV and went unseen until the morning.
Even a child as young as 5 recognized the absurdity of it. As my children did laps on their bikes, ran around, stoked a fire, read books, went on hikes, caught minnows - in a word- lived, our neighbors sat and stared.
Of course we shouldn't judge, we should cut them some slack, they know not what they do.
But after we returned home my wife made an interesting and very current connection. She and the children had been finishing up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl at that very time and she said what we witnessed reminded her of a character, Mike Teavee.
As you must have heard, the woke mob has grabbed their pitchforks and demanded tribute posthumously, from his work.
In the Chocolate Factory we may see why they can't stand him. Not because of his so called bigoted and unsavory representations of fat, greedy, lying, and lazy children. No, because of things like this.
That song itself is quite funny but underneath the goofy and superficial language is a solid attempt by Dahl to absolutely destroy that most modern and acceptable soul killing appliance, the television set.
What does he suggest to do instead? Read books, good ones, and when you are done - more books.
I can't help but think it is somewhat Thomistic.
Dahl defends the innocent senses of the children and how ultimately the sensual experience builds an imagination and the mind, the center of the intellect. Of course he was no saint, but goodness most catholic schools these days couldn't make that defense.
Turn off your tv AND your cellphone. Go camping and take a hike. Guard your child's imagination it belongs to God anyway, not to the tyranny of the world.
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY…USED…TO…READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
From “Mike Teavee…” courtesy of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl