All alone

  • February 23, 2007
There are whole generations alive who were born too late to remember this, but back in the late 1960s, there were grand predictions that within a decade or two we would all enjoy the Leisure Society, a time when we’d spend far less time working and far more time doing all those things we truly wanted to do.
Fat chance.

Fast forward almost four decades and we’re working more than we ever were. Statistics Canada last month reported that Canadians were working almost nine hours a day, up 30 minutes from two decades ago.

This is no surprise. Few of us haven’t complained that we spend far too much time at work and not enough with our families. When commuting can take up to two hours a day as well, we are simply too exhausted and have too little time left in the day to do the things that need to be done at home, let alone have “quality time” for anyone we love.

Yet even when we are not at work, we don’t always care to spend the time with those we love. That same StatsCan study showed that the time people spent alone has climbed in the last two decades by 41 minutes per day. Conversely, time spent with family and friends has dropped.

We’re also eating alone more often, usually at a fast-food restaurant. And we’re spending less time on social activities.

And at one time it could be said that, despite the all-too-apparent problems of watching too much TV, at least it drew the family together, even if only to watch Canadian Idol. Now even that small consolation is disappearing. The proliferation of TVs in bedrooms, kitchens and family rooms means that different family members can watch their favourite show in the comfort of their own solitude.

There are good things to be said for solitude, but not under these conditions. We risk losing a very real part of ourselves — our own connectedness to humanity, to our loved ones, to anybody. We become less than human, mere working creatures who have forgotten the true meaning of life.

Our faith calls us to fight this societal pressure, to consider deeply what really counts, and to act.

Kudos for Roussin

Vancouver Archbishop Raymond Roussin has scolded Telus Mobility, the west coast communications giant, for crossing a moral line with its decision to sell downloadable pornography over its cell phones. He has warned the company that his diocese will consider terminating its contracts with Telus.

The company responds to the criticism by arguing that it is somehow controlling access to pornography, providing a needed social service, since it is already available free.

But the only difference is that it is now taking a cut of the profits rather than simply being a vehicle for transmission. Some social service.

Kudos to Archbishop Roussin. He has every right to demand better ethical responsibility from a company that rakes in huge profits selling its wares to people as young as preteens. And shame on Telus.

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