What Consumes Our Fantasies
Underneath all that passes for “daily life,” there is another life, another time. It is the life of people who are either excluded from or have escaped from the demands most Americans share and feel they must conform to. It is the life of many artists, musicians, criminals and those who have dropped out. It’s been called “the night life.” These are people who reject (or can’t cope with) “daylight savings time” for what’s been called “night time losing time.” They function mainly at night, don’t take “day jobs” seriously, don’t pursue careers in the commonly accepted sense, and neither plan their futures nor weigh today’s actions against a secure old age.
Without romanticizing this way of life – for it is often seedy, greedy, drug-infested and violent – it is important for a discussion of time and therapy because fantasies about it constitute much of the television, movies and music – that is “entertainment” – for those who accept, or at least accede to, society’s time limits. Any evening’s channel-surfing is enough to prove that our society has taken these fantasies to extraordinary extremes. People who, depending on what numbers you believe, have roughly 40 hours a week of “leisure time” (a phrase unknown until this century because it was unnecessary), spend roughly 40 percent of those hours in front of the television. If they go out for the evening, it’s usually to a movie. In short, demographically average Americans spend a great deal of “discretionary time” (another phrase previous eras never needed) watching people who don’t have to live as they live, nor obey the rules they obey.
THE AGE OF INTERRUPTION
by Michael Ventura
Psychotherapy Networker January/February 1995