Society has conspired to conform us to its image, and we need to fight back to reclaim our individuality, according to this well-reasoned cultural critique and self-help book.
Lewis comes out of the gate swinging and ready to rumble with any reader who doesn't agree that many of us need to be freed from our "conforming and cultural conditioning." A former university art professor and department chairman at the University of Memphis, he includes schools, organizations and families among those he says have conspired to make us buy into their beliefs and act like everyone else. The remedy? In order to regain independence and a sense of playfulness, you must "force quit, demagnetize yourself and reboot to have fresh awareness," he writes. As he diagnoses society's ills, Lewis argues that TV, the Web and video games have become the world for many people. "Lost is wonder and the curiosity to independently explore, discover and objectify an experience within the real-time specificity of place and occasion," he writes in academic, peopleless prose. Fortunately, he gets his venting out of the way quickly and begins to sound much more human. The "hyper-reality" of the information age is frequently a target for Lewis, who argues that instead of doing things, we now watch things. On a trip to Rome, he stayed at a hostel, where two fellow travelers made an impression on him. One was a young woman whose glowing cellphone screen wakened him at 3:30 a.m. as she texted someone back home. The other was a young Indian man who aimed to speed-travel Europe, checking off the popular sites of Rome in a day and planning to conquer Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland the next weekend. Lewis is no mere cultural crank, however, and he offers some excellent tips on "zapping" the energy drainers in our lives. Limit TV. Journal. Find beauty in creativity. And limit media oversaturation if you want to be truly wise, he writes. It's a good reminder for a tech-addicted world.
Sage advice for creative souls and those who long to be.
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