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You Are What You Watch

There are ways that humanity is speeding towards the reckoning of the oil age and global warming. One of those is excessive consumption of resources in fruitless endeavours, such as wars. Huge amounts of resources and oil are consumed in running military machines.

One of the challenges is that we have come to romanticise power and ascendancy. We glorify consumption and destruction. For example, blockbuster movies rely on spectacular visual effects to draw in audiences. Many of those movies also combine the thrills of visual effects with hedonistic themes such as sex, fear and violence.

In the pursuit of visual effects, the arts industries can also be gluttonous users of resources. A movie can romanticize burning oil and brags about how many millions of dollars were consumed in the production of the movie. All for the pleasure of a few minutes on the big screen.

Ekklesia reported on the Catholic aid (CAFOD) agency's call "for young people to lead their communities in taking up a 'livesimply' challenge when it launches at National Youth Sunday on November 26. Young people are at the forefront of the rallying call to "live simply, sustainably and in solidarity" when livesimply launches across parishes in England and Wales. ...the driving force behind livesimply is to galvanise the Catholic community and the wider general public to take personal responsibility for creating change. Its aim is to create a world in which human dignity is respected, and to understand the impact our way of life is having on poor people and the environment."

Part of living simply is also recognise that which we value and encourage is that which will be made manifest. If we watch and encourage the production of scary, gluttonous, hedonistic, fear and violence loving entertainment then we will see such things being repeated in our communities.

If societies brag and posture over their ability to dominate others and mould them to their will, then we will see others romanticizing having such power and seeking to emulate the more "successful" role models.

Living simply means not just reducing what we consume, it also means choosing our values and behaviours to encourage the kind of communities that are reverential and sustainable. On form of living simply is choosing to eschew hedonistic movies and actively encouraging entertainment that fosters wisdom, compassion, love and reverence. If we want to have loving and nurturing communities, then we need to be affirming that in how we are entertained.

To do otherwise is to watch our home burn to the ground.

Photo courtesy: Ashland Fire Department

First Posted: 25 November 2006

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