It’s so funny to reflect on how much a child of television I am, especially considering I no longer watch it and haven’t done so since 2002. I had one of those weekends where that announcer sounding voice and the billowing crescendo of orchestra music work in tandem to bring me “Like sands in an hourglass, these are the days of our lives…” (insert familiar TV soap-like music here).

I believe by and large that Americans like their soaps and not for the mere escapism. There’s a tendency in our culture to grab onto meaning, even if it does come from a cathode ray tube (what? There are flat screens?). A recent book caught my attention entitled All Things Shiny: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age. Hey, those Harvard professors living large in the Philosophy Department have to produce something of substance every once in while.

Thus, yesterday, being Super Bowl Sunday, many Americans found a sense of purpose, something that mattered, something “shiny.” Yes, it was a football game (and not in the European sense – we use hands and helmets). But the authors of the book, Hubert Dreyfus

Could this be our new sacred? The folks who wrote "All Things Shiny" may be on to something.

and Sean Dorrance Kelly point out something indefatigable – we are social creatures living in a time where it is difficult for people to find meaning and to locate things that matter in our lives. Further, the two Harvard philosophers state that this makes us very different from the people of the past. Today, we have lost the notion of what is sacred in our existence.

Yesterday, sacredness equaled an oval shaped ball made from the skin of pigs (sounds pagan).

But what of today, tomorrow, or the next day? Where will meaning spring from? How will people connect to sense that there is something out there that is bigger than us individually?

Nietzsche wrote way back in 1882 that “Gott ist tot,” translated, “God is dead.” For even back then, philosophers and historians began to point out that the modern world was losing a sense of the sacred. Nietzsche then asked, “What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent?”

Duh, football.

OK, sorry. A little too tongue in cheek. But, then again, that was my weekend, a wild roller coaster ride that served to remind me that sometimes life is like a soap opera. I tried not to panic, but I’m afraid I did: just a little. I’m better now. The Packers won. All is right in my universe.

I told somebody once that God must have been trying to tell me two things; one, to be positive (my blood type), and two, try to understand (I was born on the “big ten-four, good buddy” – the fourth of October). So you see, History is in my blood. I’ve been directed by the Creator to understand my source of pain and make something positive of it. So, Bristol here I come.

Last note (and why one should never take Nietzsche seriously): the German philosopher-slash-historian took pains to describe what he meant by sacred, “those things in which a people cannot laugh at.”

Sorry, Nietzsche… I laugh at football.

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