It has been said that “entertainment has the capacity to ruin society.” In one sense I agree; entertainment is a powerful tool that influences much of the things that we do. I would argue however that the more correct statement is that the desire for entertainment, not entertainment itself is what will ruin our society.
Come with me to a world where no one is required to do anything. You can provide food for yourself without work, and you will always have what you need. Now imagine the activities that you would do if you had no demands on your time. My guess is that most of the things on your list were activities that you find entertaining. It is natural. We want to be entertained. Back in our world we do many things for the same reason. We watch a TV show, if we are not entertained, we change the channel or turn it off and look for something that will entertain us.
I have noticed that people tend to see activities in four different categories: either the activity is good for them as a person, it is fun and entertaining, it is both, or neither. Take this blog for instance, either you read it because you are required and you don’t really want to; because you find it entertaining; because you enjoy my insights and I say things that make you think; or it is entertaining and insightful. If none of those scenarios is true for you, then I’m not sure why you are reading this. If you read it because you find it entertaining, when it ceases to become entertaining you will stop reading. You will go do something better with your time, because you want to be entertained.
The key with these two main categories is finding a balance. For example, a teacher usually is not considered a good teacher unless they are both entertaining, and know what they are talking about. If they aren’t entertaining, they have to be that much more enlightening to be considered a good teacher. If they don’t instruct well, they have to be that much more entertaining for kids to like them. The problem comes when we substitute what is good for us for entertainment.
Sometimes we watch TV shows because they are entertaining and we like the values they show us. Slowly however, we have begun to lose that. We watch TV for entertainment exclusively, and not to learn anything. The same is true with teachers. When we stop valuing the knowledge they pass onto us and start valuing the entertainment, that is where society will be destroyed. When our desire for entertainment outweighs our desire for personal growth. This is how entertainment will destroy our society.