One of the greatest gifts I've received from thru-hiking is an understanding of how simple life is. When you carry all your possessions on your back all day and unpack and repack all those things every evening and every morning, you find that a lot of things that you once thought were necessary really aren't. Even something as simple and useful as a chair makes no sense to carry 14 hours a day and sit in for 1 hour a day. Eventually, all the unnecessary things in my pack got left behind. And I discovered great freedom in that simplicity.
A similar effect happened to my mind. Thoughts and feelings that were too heavy to carry were left behind too. And there was even greater freedom in that kind of simplicity.
After months of this, I became attuned to the sound of the breeze in the trees. My attention span grew to hours. I watched the sun cross the sky each day, and the moon wax and wane. Eventually I could even feel the seasons change.
Then I came back to television.
My first impression of advertising was how loud it is. It's rude. It grabbed my attention like someone's life was in danger. But it was for nothing. Worse than nothing. The purpose of advertising is to create demand for products. Think about that for a minute. Create demand. Demand for necessities doesn't need to be created. Ads tell us we won't be happy without their stuff; that we won't be beautiful without their products; that we won't be likable without their help; that there's something wrong with us.
It's all a lie.