Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tuning Out

By James Gabrillo and Mikee Tuason

You're listening to your iPod right now, aren't you? You're listlessly reading this little piece while Green Day pumps lethal amounts of teenage angst into your ear aren't you? Well, have you understood anything we've said so far, huh? You have? Oh.

Its quite obvious to anybody who lives in our modern world that things have gotten much, much noisier. Go to any public space in the city you can think of and just stand still for a while. Then, for ten seconds, just ten measly seconds, write down each and every single sound you hear - onomatopoeias count, by the way.

Its pretty impossible, isn't it? Well, that's just how raucous the situation is - its so rowdy our brains cant even keep up anymore.

But that's not the only kind of noise there is. We are constantly bombarded by advertisements, mindless chat messages, Green Day, and the occasional dose of emo wrath care of the bloggers, among others. The unimpeded flow of information is just so distracting. There is, frankly no room for stillness anymore.

One might think that everyone has to tire out sometime, right? Eventually, when everything around us has brought itself to exhaustion, the world will fall completely silent.

But up until press time (ooh), its as noisy as always. With our generations new toys, we can never get away from noise.

This poses quite a problem - how can we listen to just one single thing and dedicate our entire attention to if we're so distracted? More importantly, how can we listen to ourselves without losing focus every few seconds, with all of existence shouting at us constantly? How, then, can we ever show who we are?

Know thyself

Now, we're not going to say something really cheesy like, " We've just have to look within ourselves and then... we'll know." Its not that easy. In fact, self-discovery is so difficult, we cant even tell you how to get there. You're on your own, pal. What, then, is the point of this piece? And why have we been asking so many questions (eleven so far)?

Turn off your iPod for a while. Turn off your laptop. Turn off the TV. Gag your dog or something. Just make sure that everything is completely quiet. Okay, good. Now, you have ten seconds to find yourself. Okay, we're kidding.

What we really wanted to say is this - we have to at least try to tune out.

It's hard to admit but this generation has become extremely irresponsible in using the media available to them. We want to know everything, we want to read everything, we want to listen to everything. Scratch that. We to know, read, and listen to everything, or else we won't be contented.

But like everything else in this world. there's a limit to what our senses can take in. We have to understand this, if we want to be happy.

Let's not be eaten up by machines. When the latest episode of the Heroes is available for download on the Internet (or at Makati Cinema Square), sit down and think. Do I really need this right now? Can't it wait until I finish the things I should really be doing, like my work?

It's about prioritizing

You don't need to travel to an isolated island and stay there for weeks to find yourself. You can stay right where you are, at your cubicle in the office, and you can do it. By tuning out, we don't mean completely shutting yourself out of the universe. Rather, tuning out is about knowing how to regulate your intake of television, magazines, and your best friend's endless rumbling about his new gadget. Yes, this also means you have to learn how to say no.

The argument of the other side tells us that when finding one's self, it doesn't really seem to matter if the world is so noisy - not for our generation, at least. We've gotten used to all the screeches that they don't really bother us as much, anyway.

We we're born into a noisy world, and so we don't know what a quiet world is like. A quiet world is alien to us. So isn't it logical for us to find ourselves in the environment where we have been exposed to all our lives?

We'll leave you to think about that. But know that we've gotten used to the colorful chaos that the majority of what we're churning out as individuals is all about being edgy and stylized. We've overinnovated and overcomplicated the universe.

Is there no turning back? We say we can do it. See, by themselves alone, the citizens and technology on the Noisy Kids List can do nothing. If we show them that we're not gullible to everything that they offer, if we show them that we actually take time to choose, if we show them that we actually think , then changes will begin to surface.

In the process, when you start to get tempted to get back to your old self, know that you are worth more that that iPod. Much, much more.

Get out of your comfort zone and tune out. Say this to yourself ten times.

* * * * * * *

Okay, honestly saying, I just can't get rid the message of this article out of my head when I first read about it in the Super! Saturday section of The Philippine Daily Inquirer. I thought sharing it to the readers of my blog is the perfect solution. I have been struck by the writers because they really do have some point... Don't you think so too?

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