“When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination…
I can’t get no satisfaction…”
– Rolling Stones
My Dad is famous for ranting about a lot of stuff, but at least twenty times a day it is about sugar…
Not so much the crystalline deliciousness that makes porridge edible – although that is part of it – but more so “emotional” sugar.
This is Dad’s way of complaining that we (as a society) watch too much crap TV, are too glued – make that grafted! – to our mobile phone screens, read too many advertising-laced magazines, play too many neuron-melting computer games, engage in too much superficial social media, listen to music with no meaning and discuss celebrities as if they have a starring role in our social lives… just generally persist with engaging in activities that do nothing to nourish us, but provide only a temporary “sugar rush” that leaves us (emotionally) fat, lazy and stupid, but also empty and insatiably hungry for more.
He’s right, of course (as all fathers always are about these things). It seems that the pleasure principle rules and our relatively easy (survival-wise), yet increasingly time-pressured lives often see us reaching more often for a convenient “cookie” than the proverbial “chicken soup” for our souls.
The mind, like the body, uses “sugar” for energy. A certain amount is fine, even quite good for you; a release from the stresses of daily life. The problem arises when we marinate in the information equivalent of Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs 24 hours a day – the mind doesn’t know what to do with the excess sugar. This can eventually result in a meltdown…
There will come a day when we cannot absorb one more news report about Miley Cyrus, not one more banal “tweet” about someone’s dinner plans for tacos, not one more commercial radio jockey commenting as an “expert” on political issues, not one more episode of “Australia’s Next Top Bachelor Thinks He Can Dance With the Stars in the Big Brother House”…
This “mind Maccas” will leave us bloated and sluggish with an overdose of useless information. One day we may all let out a collective shudder, make a little whirring noise and shut down completely, our brains atrophied from lack of use!
Our “sugar” addiction is going to make us sick. In fact, I would go as far as saying that we are all at risk of developing Emotional Diabetes.
How will you know if you have developed Emotional Diabetes? You should be alarmed if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Feeling tired and weak (often caused by lack of sleep associated with constantly checking one’s phone in the middle of the night for a text/Facebook status update/tweet etc)
- Increased thirst and hunger (caused by consuming too many intellectually empty “calories”)
- Blurred vision (eyes crossed from trying to keep up with the thousands of images, sound-effects, messages, mindless chatter and contradictory ideals that assault our senses every moment we are conscious)
- Mood Swings (caused by riding the emotional roller coaster of highs and lows from your sugar hits and crashes)
But it is OK… I don’t think the damage done is irreversible.
We simply need to treat our minds with the same respect as we should our bodies; nourish them with a steady diet of great ideas and exercise them with the effort of original thought.
The problem is not that we seek pleasure, it is that the pleasures we seek are all too often passive and external. There is no sweeter satisfaction than the fruits of endeavour; we need to learn to create more than we consume so that we may all leave this world a more bountiful feast than we found it…
In that way maybe we will all finally get that “satisfaction” Mr Jagger was going on about?