Friday, June 09, 2006

Thoughts from the Philosopher’s Walk

I’ve been walking to work. It gives me about 35-minutes to ramble around in my own head and think odd thoughts. I just sort of start walking and I eventually end up at my place of employment. On occasion, I’ll listen to my iPod. Sometimes, I’ll even load it up with relevant podcasts about emerging technology (fitting, since the iPod was a gift from our CEO). Most days, however, I just ramble…

The automobile radio killed religion. A sermon is something to carefully consider and mull over—like a fine wine or a single malt whiskey. Spending a lot of time doing something menial without accompaniment provides such an opportunity. I imagine that my mother—a Catholic Scott who immigrated to northern Ontario—had plenty of time to consider the wise words of her parish priest on those interminable walks to school and to fetch water (Fetch water! And this was the 50s). The rare collision of two events in my life (walking to work and actually attending some sort of religious service) has given me the opportunity to actually reflect on the content of various sermons. I was also surprised to realize that I would never actually do this reflection unless I was walking without music. It becomes too easy to get lost in the tasks of driving (considering lane changes, timing lights, swearing at pedestrians, etc.). Similarly, I can get lost in the accompaniment provided by iPod. Of course, the synthesis of driving and listening to the radio results in a period of almost complete grey-time, when I think about almost nothing. The inane chatter of the shock-jock DJs and public radio’s manic obsession with the news precludes me considering anything about Padre Ken’s wise words. It was neither science nor capitalism that destroyed organized religion in North America. Rather, it was an artifact produced by both: the car radio.


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