Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Walking to Fitchburg -- Part 2

My sister and her S. O. were here for a visit recently. They brought along a satellite radio, a nifty little gizmo the size of your hand that plays through whatever audio system you currently own. The antenna is about the size of a deck of cards. For $13 a month, you get 150 channels of crystal-clear, commercial-free audio, such as channels that play only 50's, or 60's, or classical music. My wife was attracted by the crisp and reliable BBC World Service.

Our visitors offered to leave the satellite radio with us, and we were briefly tempted. But on reflection, the cost in "life" seemed too high: one more on-all-the-time intrusive connection to the busy world outside.

What intrigues me is that all of this music and information is pouring down on every square inch of the planet from geostationary satellites thousands of miles above the earth, the very ether we live in awash with electromagnetic vibrations, a never-ceasing, inaudible cacophony of the sublime and the frivolous. Even the monk in his silent cloistered cell is bathed night and day with the noise of the world.