Living Our Modern Lives, We Want to Do Multiple Things at Once…
Our frantic minds reflect our frantic lives as we try to fit more and more into each day. We constantly do two or more things at a time. We dress while listening to the radio; prepare a meal while planning our day; then eat the meal while reading the paper and watching television. We listen to the radio while driving and at work talk on the telephone while preparing a report. Our lives feel fragmented, our minds are agitated, blood pressure is raised, and our attention span is shortened.
Thomas Merton, one of the twentieth century’s most influential Christians, summarized the dilemma we face:
The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her work for peace.