Dwelling in the Age of Distraction

What does it mean to dwell in the age of distraction? It means that people are seekers, providers, builders, merchants, buyers, collectors, adorers, enthusiasts, judges, creators, and obsessives of distraction. Thus we are surrounded by and encompassed within a ceaseless circle of distraction. To escape distraction is nearly impossible, even if one tries, even if one desires to – and most do not. More likely we are prone to escape one particular distraction into another preferred distraction. Each has his own preferred portfolio of distractions which bring, he supposes, peace and joy. Conversely, each has his own antagonistic distractions, which cause him unrest and displeasure. Everyone is like this, and each person’s distractions, at some point, distract another without specific intent to do so, for no one is so full isolated that they can be ignorant of the distractions of other people. Thus, people are more restless than peaceful, annoyed than joyful, and they suffer the distractions of countless others. This suffering brings more inclination to defiantly express and surround oneself with distractions, which exacerbates and perpetuates a cycle of general unhappiness and fatigue.

What is a distraction? A distraction is any stimulus, event, situation or activity which serves to occupy the mind and pass time. Just about anything can be a distraction. In the absence of distractions, one experiences the passage of time with awareness. One feels boredom and an aimless hankering. Anxiety ensues. The mind craves stimuli as the body craves food, and, deprived, begins to feed on the fat of uncontrolled thinking, memories, fantasies, and emotions. Deprived of distraction, the mind turns inward, buoyed only by desire and aversion. This source of discomfort leads one to seek distraction as a relief.

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