The sound of silence is deafening.
Last week Reuters ran a story about a University of Virginia study in which volunteers had to “spend no more than 15 minutes alone in a room doing nothing but sitting and thinking.” College students had to brave their solitary confinement without “a cell phone, music player, reading material or writing implements and were asked to remain in their seats and stay awake.”
Many couldn’t handle not doing anything but tending to their thoughts. Some participants gave themselves a mild electrical shock to avoid slipping into a contemplative coma.
Thinking: the antithesis of a gadget-geared lifestyle.
We’re engaged in a quest for self-denial, much like a Buddhist monk, but in the opposite direction. Rather than retreating from the chaos of modern life, we flood our bodies with endless stimuli, desperate for the numbed-out bliss of over-entertainment.
Sit still and ponder my place in the universe? Can’t I just Google the meaning of life and hashtag a Kanye West quote beneath a vacant-looking selfie?