Death of the Novel – Cultural Hyperactivity

hyperactivity /hy·per·ac·tiv·i·ty/ (-ak-tiv´ĭ-te)

1. excessive or abnormally increased muscular function or activity.
2. former name for attention-deficit. hyperac´tive

Novels die because people live lives that are jacked up on Red Bull, 4 Hour Energy Shots and race to their next appointment (or their kids next appointment) in their DVD showing, iPod integrated, Blue Tooth linked, GPS navigated, SUV/Tank – completely unaware that their children have been passed out from fatigue for the past 20 minutes and the caffeine fix they’re relying on is also creating the ulcer in their stomach and the hypertension in their back.

We simply live too fast, too busy, too disconnected from the truly significant things in life… believing in the fallacy that quantity equals quality.  We have personal ambition that drive this frenetic pace…we have personal demons that drive us as slave masters to do more and be more.  We have fear of our own insignificance if we don’t make the next top 30 under 30 (top 40 under 40, top 50 under 50, etc) in our city, corporation or sports league.

Like Greg Valentino and his amazing exploding arms – we, as a society – are injecting ourselves with steroids and are equating massive growth with healthy growth.  We think that as long are we are moving “forward”, or generating positive returns (or whatever other arbitrary indicator of growth that we rationalize as important) than we are growing and thus we are successful.  This is a lie.  We are hyperactive and need to slow down.  We need to learn that we can come to full stop and that world will not end.

If we can find the true confidence to slow down and stop that we can see clearly where we are.  The pressures that radically control our lives now will be seen as empty ghosts in the light of patience.  We will learn to think deeply rather than think quickly.  We will value sustainability more than risk.  We will seek genuine connection with others rather than to add more friends to our Facebook profile or our Linked in network.  We will be able to receive the true love and support of those around us… as well as the deep validation that the world (and God) offers to us as created, inherently valuable and loved people. Novels can do this for us and with us – they can help us get in touch with our everyday selves…not some fabrication that we’ve crafted from random email addresses and Netflix viewing reports.

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