Sunday, March 12, 2006

There Will Come Soft Rains

My youngest daughter told me this week that there is a girl at her middle school who is so obese, she can't fit through the doorway to get into the classroom. Used to be, this girl would go in sideways, but now that isn't working either. The teacher's solution? She put a desk in the hallway just outside the door so the girl can sit there and still at least hear what's going on.

Can you picture that?

My daughter has noticed more and more desks in the hallways to accomodate this poor kid in all of her classes. It makes me wonder why and how such a thing could happen. It's not like this girl is alone. The U.S. just keeps getting larger and larger as it gets more and more spiritually bereft. Not to mention how technology has made it perfectly feasible to almost never even go outside.

Which reminds me of something I learned from a friend last week--studies are showing that some kids with ADHD are going to be developmentally stunted forever and they are seeing a corelation between being indoors/watching tv/isolated from nature and ADHD. That means these kids will never develop the attention span on their own to even finish a book or be good for anything longer than a sound bite. I see this so much as part of a larger problem. To some extent, we all now have ADHD. If you spend any time in nature and know and feel the difference in rhythm, the calming effect on the mind, and shift in perspective, then you know what I mean. Nobody gets enough of that anymore.

And now that reminds me of a short story Bliss asked me to read this week. There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury. It focuses on a techologically advanced house that basically runs itself--making breakfast, feeding the dog, turning on the sprinklers, waking up the members of the household. Only, the owners are gone--there has been some cataclysmic apocalypse and no humans have survived. But the house goes on as nothing has happened. It does not compute.

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
-- Sara Teasdale

We seem to be becoming collectively more and more like the house in the story--technology in a bubble--and if in all of our "advancement" and "progress" all we achieve is some kind of Bionic Man ( we can re-Build him, we can make him stronger, faster..) that isn't truly human (and by human I mean earth-friendly), what exactly have we really gained?

4 Comments:

Blogger Jody said...

Wow!

That's so so sad.

I'm a firm believer in children being "unplugged". Nothing makes me happier than seeing my kids running around outside, getting lots of fresh air with huge smiles on their faces.

16 March, 2006  
Blogger genetic lorax said...

Right on.

Nothing seems to make the kids happier, either.

16 March, 2006  
Anonymous Howard Muhlberg said...

Great post, Cathy. We've tightly rationed TV, computer, and have said no to all video games and I believe it's the best thing we've done as parents. We haven't gone so far as to try and prevent him from doing this stuff at friends' homes, but most of the friends he has have like-minded parents.

Anyway, besides the very real problems of attention deficit from these devices, they are very powerful social conditioners, essentially programming kids to be the mindless, shallow consumers our entire economy is dependent on.

Ugh.

17 March, 2006  
Blogger genetic lorax said...

Yeah, and they are good at socially conditioning kids to be afraid to go outside.

Fear--fear--kidnapping--danger--fear.

Call me paranoid, but I see an agenda.

17 March, 2006  

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