How the shared experience of entertainment replaces the church

I have often wondered why we all love the shared experience of entertainment. Nothing beats chatting to your friends or work colleagues about Susan Boyle or meeting another The Wire fanatic. I came across this quote in Alain de Botton’s Status Anxiety, and for me it sums up incredibly well that shared experience. Just replace the church description and imagery with that of The X Factor and you will see what I mean…..

“We might imagine joining an unfamiliar congregation within the walls of a cathedral to hear Bach’s Mass in B Minor. Much may separate us: age, income, clothes, and background. We may never have spoken to one another and be wary of letting others catch our gaze. But as the Mass begins, so too does a process of social alchemy. The music gives expression to feelings that had hitherto seemed inchoate and private, and our eyes may fill with tears of relief and gratitude that the composer and musicians have made audible, and hence available to us and others, the movements of our souls. Violins, voices, flutes, double basses, oboes, bassoons and trumpets combine to create sounds that exteriorize the most intimate, elusive areas of our psyches. Furthermore, the public nature of the performance helps us to realize that if others are responding as we are to the music then they cannot be the incomprehensible figures we might previously have imaginged them to be.”

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