We live in a time where texture, flavor and depth are eschewed in favor of the world of make believe. The imitation experiences are almost universally transmitted through the blue light of a screen. Be it in the form of a video game, movie or more likely, a TikTok or YouTube video, it is all smoke and mirrors, perhaps CGI.
Even simple acts that bring us together are falling away. Eating, for instance. Dining is becoming a lost art. Instead of sitting and enjoying some quality food we buy processed poison, designed to fatten and sicken us. We don't even talk to a human but rather use an app on our "smart" phones to order and pay for it. As Justin Halpern said in Shit My Dad Says "if they give you food in a sack, it is a sack of shit." So the nameless, faceless person crams the shit into paper bags, hands it to us from a window, perhaps mumble a thank you. It is a human feed lot, complete with the drive through as the crush.
We then eat the garbage in the car or at our desk, with our "smart" phones in our hands. Understand, it's not that connectivity is bad, but what are we connecting to? Instead of watching that TikTok, when was the last time you watched a sun set, or a hummingbird work the blooms, or simply stared into a fire? It is in the quiet times where we are creative. The constant noise denies us the opportunity to let our mind "off the leash." This isn't just opinion. Studies show that smartphone use leads to diminished ability to analyze and interpret information. Or put another way, "smart" phones makes us dumb and numb. As a people we have given up our will, programmed by networks, social media, pop ups and "influencers." We march onward, mindless consumers. Food animals...unable to discern between living and being alive. Virtual reality is replacing the real thing. Our souls are being smothered. Enough is enough!
We need to return to a time where we have the discipline to wind- our watches, sharpen our knives on leather strops and carry sidearms of blued steel. We need to reacquaint ourselves with satisfying feeling of taking an animal from the field, dressing it and cooking it for our family. Our vehicles should have clutches, perhaps even manual chokes. How does any of this help us return to an honest, dignified existence? It is a matter of standards and discipline. As Admiral McRaven told some graduating students "If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed." Why? "Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right." Well said, Admiral, well said.
Perhaps it starts with manners. Men should stand when a woman comes to the table and he should hold her chair. Women should come to expect such behavior.
We need to start living real life again, not just sucking air and hoping our 401K can help us watch grown men play games on the television in the years beyond the cubicle. We need to drink our coffee black, our bourbon neat and and to make a wood fire so as to cook our steaks.
The path back to a life of honor and dignity, of meaning and purpose, is not a long one. In less than a generation we can get rid of the "man bun," the "man cave" and the ridiculous idea that masculinity is toxic. We can raise a generation that can change a tire and write in cursive. We can raise a generation of actual men, and women who expect the best of them. These small things are just some of the habits and practices that can be the first step to becoming what is possible. As Colonel Jeff Cooper said, in the introduction to his book To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth, "the latent nobility of the human soul has not vanished. It is simply buried. Let us unearth it." It is time.