When I relax at home after the day’s work is finished, I am faced with a plethora of choices. I can play it old school and click on the tube (or the 60” flat panel LCD TV). I can play it really old school and listen to a ball game on the radio. More likely I will get on the internet and binge watch a series on Amazon Prime or listen any songs I want on Spotify. I have also been known to listen to talk radio, read books, electronic and traditional, and play some online games.
More than any other people Americans have come to believe that entertainment and liesure is something they deserve. The smartphone has become an addiction, particularly for young people, but for many aging adults as well. When we have a spare moment in the car or in the waiting room – or wherever – we are taking out our devices to cure our boredom while we are unoccupied. In response, the entertainment industry has met this demand with 24/7 access to games, news, and programming content. This way of using time is not necessarily bad. We can now take care of tasks with our smartphones during time that in the past would have been wasted.
Unfortunately, after binge-watching a TV show on the Roku I do have to ask myself if my time could have been better spent. Yet, we humans do need to have activities that help us disengage and reduce our level of stress. On the other hand, studies show that spending the last hour before going to bed away from a screen will improve sleep significantly.
It is obvious that most Americans, myself included, make entertainment choices that divert from activities that would be more constructive. I also believe that entertainment takes away from our times of introspection, prayer, and contemplation. Since much of what we consider entertainment is morally corrupt, it can be argued that our addiction to continual amusement has contributed to the moral decay of society. When I choose to watch my favorite television show it will cause me to make compromises and excuse the immorality and ungodliness that is a part of most shows.
This begs again the still unanswered question; does our behavior as a society emulate what we see in the entertainment world, or is our entertainment a mirror of our own society? Either way the prognosis is not good. If art imitates life, we are already corrupted and that corruption is on display for us to see. If life imitates art our culture has doomed itself by its dependence on the morally corrupted entertainment industry.
I admit I have offered very little in this post that is new, but I wanted to discuss entertainment and liesure in America because there is no argument that for many it is a replacement for God. In other words, many people are trying to find happiness in their amusements to distract them from the fact that their lives are unfulfilling. By entertaining themselves instead of reflecting on their need of a saviour, they may be throwing away the only chance at contentment they will ever know.