I am posting this letter because I think we need to look long and hard at the messages our popular culture sells us:
How much of our 'entertainment' celebrates the very diseased thinking that we must end up fighting in the process of recovery? This movie exalts a morally depraved man, and minimizes the horrors he committed against his own family.
When people think of a 'party,' the media shows us disgusting scenes of excess. Then we send young adults off to college with their heads packed with these messages and wonder why get into trouble.
Sure, popular entertainment has always been about exotic animals and gladiators. But, not until now, have we had the technology that could close the gap between reality and fantasy so tightly. At a deep level, our minds to not distinguish between the two.
This is why we go to a movie and are 'drawn in.' The images shakes, and we feel shaken. The hero dies (not in American films) and we cry. Our brains may be able to differentiate at some later point, but in the moment our lower brain takes in the image and makes it 'real.'
So, we end up 'joining' ourselves to these images. When we see some singer gyrating on a stage, the image delivered in HD with surround sound, our lust is experiencing her as 'real' even when the event is thousands of miles away.
The images themselves do not tell the whole story. What ends up happening is that the performer offers himself/herself to be 'dehumanized,' to be objectified for us to use. And yet, we then must objectify ourselves by being used. Yes, we are used when marketeers design all of this stuff to get us to go to their movies or by their recordings.
Movie and music executives don't care about making the audience better... they just want to push our buttons to make money. They know the lure of depravity and its powerful pull on the human psyche. And, they are more than willing to tempt us into joining ourselves into the same depraved path they themselves are on.
So, what to do? First, seek happiness based on reality. Find what is good and real. Very often, that is about serving others to the extent that we can.
Sure there are some types of service we are not ready for or circumstances prevent, but we can at least pray for others and ask God to help them when we know we cannot. Never blow yourself up trying to help someone when you know you can't.
Second, be aware of the messages around you. To do that, you may have to slow down on the number of messages you receive per day. Turn off the TV and radio and computer, then get inside your own head.
Third, do not reward the depravity-mongers with their business. Research what you buy, and then only buy what is good. This may mean giving up some guilty pleasures... but just remember that what is a guilty pleasure for you could be a destructive force in many other lives.
Do not let yourself fall into the devil's oarboat. He will make you row until you wear out, and then he will throw you overboard. We all can find happiness that does not mean joining ourselves to the depraved.