By Craig Funston
I have written a couple of these “letter” columns before. (Can you remember which letters?) With two down, I have 24 to go. That means that I have enough left over to write a column like this every second week for almost a year.
Then again, if I doubled up the letters (eg., “b” would be for busy and bully; and “e” would be entitlement and escapism), I could fill up a whole year’s worth. Clever thought, but I don’t plan to do it quite like that.
However, I will drop these “gems” in now and thenbecause I need to lighten up from my rants about carbon footprints and climate change, the Liberals’ evil agenda, abortion and vaccinations, GSA and NDP, David Suzuki and Michael Moore, Bill 6 and 10, and other wholly unscientific and irrational matters.
You know that I’m saying the above to bait you, and that’s not really kind of me. I’m sure other equally nice people have equally strong feelings about these matters, only from a different perspective. I apologize in a general way for how I say this, but not for what I say. I believe, along with the muted majority, that there are so many issues out there that are being crammed down our collective throats, without so much as an opportunity for public dialogue.
From my studies in history, I am reminded a little of Stalinist Russia.
I think one of the hallmarks of a free democracy is something called a referendum. Wouldn’t be bad pratice, but we need a free democracy to carry it out.
Meanwhile, back at the letter”V”: What are your guesses? Venom? Villagers? Vegreville? Victim? “Victor Victoria”?
Let’s try the word “virtual,” as in not real, not physically existing or not having substance, or simulated, artificial, and imitation.
A little grammar lesson here, please. When I eat imitation crab at Christmas, though it’s not real crab, it does have substance. Or when there is a tribute to Roy Orbison, he is not there, as he left us too soon many years ago. However, someone else is there, so there’s the substance, just not the real thing.
So in either case, we can’t use the word “virtual.”
No, the angle that I am working today is that non-existent information that sits on one’s computer screen day in and day out, year in and year out—it is there, but not real. And if one lives long enough in that world, it’s a real struggle adapting to the outside world. I don’t want to even imagine how many hours per week kids sit in front of any sort of screen—and then multiply those hours by weeks in a year.
Staring at a screen can lead to a zombie-like existence, that zoned-out mind set that seems too prevalent today. All kids? Hardly. Just too many kids. Maybe even kids I know personally, so I am not spouting off from a theoretical perspective.
And that, in a nutshell, is the pith of many problems at many levels in today’s culture, especially among the young. Let’s see: there’s virtual death, sex, grief, violence, issues, and relationships. When one extricates oneself from the virtual world of graphic violence, then shifts into the real world, the tranistion is so painful and awkward that it becomes an emotional, physical, mental, social, and moral calamity.
I think, and I am just expressing my opinion here (because this one is really dicey), that one reason for so much random violence today, as an example, is because there is such a frightening disconnect between the virtual world and the real world. In fact, there is no connection whatsoever.
For example, there is the vitual death and destruction, guts and gore, and then there’s the real thing. Real knives produce real wounds, which can lead to real damage (even real death).
There is no easy solution, so don’t read on looking for one. I suggest it’s like an addiction. No, actually it is an adiction –and must be treated with the same kid gloves, the same firm but gentle approach.
A virtual world leads to a fantasy existence. A fantasy existence leads to a irrational lifestyle. And we are already paying a heavy price for the results.