The video has nothing to do with coaching.
Bob Gainey (former coach of the Montreal Canadiens)
… car of Tomorrow!
The noise made me wince. It had originated from a TV set, in the convenience store I was in—an impersonal smirk, teeth lined up in a racist piano keyboard appeared on the screen. I had forgotten the advertising rage deployed to excite the purchase of a sacred, motorized, cow. As for this car of the future, we’re offering you, it’s just today’s car wrapped in a bogus argument. The car of tomorrow, it will be built tomorrow. There is a sucker in everybody.
It was when I gave up watching television that I also gave up my car. The pixelated window that had led me to the bocalmobile (I owned a convertible). No more living through windows.
The Never-ending Loop
Seven years earlier, when the second millennium was dying off in total indifference to me, I found myself in a dilemma. My two videotapes (each six hours long and a technological marvel at the time), were full, and I wanted to record a movie. I had been following consecutive episodes of two different Star Trek series, over and over, alternating that with bits of Indiana Jones which I also wanted to see again. A bit crazy? Yes, I agree. (I knew a lady once, who always had four TV sets on, in a five-room apartment, with the sound turned off).
It woke me up. In the middle of summer I was about to spend what I believed to be an idyllic early evening in front of the screen. Instead, I walked out the door. I watched the happy passers-by, the beauty of the sunset and felt the pleasant cool breeze on my face. At that moment, I imagined the alternative—sitting at home in front of the TV. Depressing!
I was wasting my life. I vowed to treasure that moment of clarity as dearly as a primitive cherished the flame of a torch in his cave. And the conclusion was obvious: I was addicted to television. How does one know when they’re intoxicated by their addiction? When one systematically uses an object or occupation to avoid life as it is.
Of course, watching TV has nothing in common with the use of morphine, the practice of pedophilia or neoliberalism. And it’s not a question of health, money or social impact. Whether the drug is called Prozac, vodka, yoga, crossword puzzles, magic, poker, autos, porn, cult, D&D, swimming, stamps, sex, hockey, lottery, reality TV, war games, collecting penknives or dolls—the abusive misuse of these distractions are always rooted in deficient education.
Deficient learning (programming) in childhood, forces us sooner or later, to face unknown or poorly tamed situations. This, in turn, generates within us, a childish fear. The discovery of medicine (as a substance or an occupation) softens, lessens, or even anesthetizes this fear, allowing us to acquire a relative emotional peace in the face of these potentially traumatic experiences. A borderline case example: American soldiers stationed in Vietnam (to do extreme tourism) are more likely to use a plethora of drugs that they wouldn’t have at home. Why’s that? Because it allows them to function (another good example of this addictive reality can be found in the biographical film, Gia (1998), about a supermodel).
Customary experiences, unimportant for most, are dangerous to others. It’s hard to understand an other’s fear. Perhaps you know someone who suffers from a fear that others don’t? Sometimes they even laugh at it. Some of the most common fears include: approaching a stranger, giving your opinion, being alone, working for someone, asking for information, lying, expressing affection, going to an interview, writing your thoughts, killing a spider, buying a device, dressing for a party, driving a vehicle, walking in a crowd or urinating in a public toilet. I have in mind a collective case: alcohol, which is made and spread according to the size of the towns where everyone is subjected to the gaze of strangers. Drinking makes contact easier. All the truer (and used frequently) to get to know a partner in love. In short, the use of the drug is justified due to the anticipated fear or a desire to avoid enormous stress. But inevitably, the drug’s dimension will appear.
The ancient Greeks used the term pharmacon to cover drugs and poisons as well as medicines, i.e. all substances that modify the functioning of the body without feeding it (the term drugstore is therefore imprecise). If a drug helps you get through a stressful experience, it can have negative consequences as a drug (antidepressants are a case in point). Moreover, in the long run, any drug becomes a poison. And then…
A Trend Toward Its Limit
The accumulation of harmful side effects from prolonged use of a drug heralds a long-term catastrophe. How long? Hmm… It depends on the dimensionality of the drug and poison, frequency of use, the size of the shortfall and the type of fear to be overcome; all these factors play a role. The drug’s dimension creates a void to live in, which it fills, but always at a loss. This deterioration is due to two forms of addiction. On the one hand, the illusory or euphoric effect of a drug diminishes with use; on the other hand, the dose consumed needs to be increased as a result of addiction and long term use, to compensate or accelerate the effect. Sooner or later; health, psyche, or economic viability undergoes a shock, comparable to an earthquake.
Whether it’s heroin being used like the slot machine, or money and friends, the side effects are obvious. When it comes to wine or beer, online gambling, pot and cocaine, you can go on for years before any lack of happiness shows through.
Cigarettes are more discreet. Its deficit qualities had to be quantified with the help of statistics. The deficit aspect of TV seems to be non-existent. However, there too, the happiness of life deteriorates once addicted. When an activity occupies us at a loss, it’s because it provides a temporary benefit at the cost of the persistent degradation of other joys.
The Other Tendency Related to Its Limit
The degradation caused by the poisonous aspect of a drug, most often, involves a long-term after-effect of the drug dimension—leading to changes in behavior, such as a deficiency in terms of happiness that translates to that of poisoning our lives.
So, if I take a beer to be comfortable in my social contacts, chances are I’ll find myself frequently in a bar. Chances are I’ll end up chatting while drunk, socializing with drunks, or talking to myself. In the end, the deficit of life will have eliminated the benefits it brought at the beginning.
If being alone was unbearable, imagine being alone and an alcoholic. This is the moment of truth: relearn to live or die in lonely misery.
(to be continued, part 2: The Revenge)