We don’t always recognize the depersonalization of the experience consciously, but it affects us on some level, and we dress accordingly. Why bother pretending this is special? Why bother enjoying the experience when the restaurant makes it clear that you are just another number. Not all restaurants, not all shops, and certainly not all churches fall in to the sin of depersonalizing, but it’s common enough to alter our cultural experience. And it isn’t just the fault of restaurants and airlines, the trouble is everywhere. It isn’t so much a loss of gratitude, as the author of the article claims, it’s a loss of the awareness of being a person. A lost sense of self. Which might be one reason we eat out so often, we’re hungry for recognition and respect. We want to experience a moment when we are seen as real people, not just characters on television or numbers in a profit margin.
The discussion of a “blase attitude toward our daily lives” both fascinates and horrifies me. It’s something that I am trying to weed out of my own life. To view each day as whole within itself, a gift, a sacred space. A superstitious tendency to avoid planning too far in advance, lest my certainty in my own future tempt God to teach me otherwise is a part of my make up, but so is the habit of living the past, present, and future in a jumbled mess all at once. Neither is ideal for creating an attitude of contentment in the moment. I fall too easily into Rilke’s words; “desires are just memories from our future”, living both the long and the actualization at once, and so failing completely to work at attaining in the time at hand. At the same time, I am absorbed with the desire to ‘‘make each hour holy’’; so absorbed, in fact that I often fail to make anything of any hour. The present is pushed away for tomorrow. I wonder if this attitude is more common than I think. Perhaps we are all planning to make tomorrow holy, passing by the present in our minds in search of a moment when we are ready to truly being living.