“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Cor. 4:17-18
Things which are not seen: hunger, pain, love, sorrow, joy, laughter, theories, faith, ideas, friendship, God, hate. Right now, also for me, Ian. Not gingerbread cookies, or Einstein who looks like a gingerbread cookie but isn’t.
In his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman discusses the evils of our Age of Show Business. He claims that itself TV isn’t a problem; TV taking itself seriously is the real issue. He lambasts society for wanting to be entertained, implying that we somehow fail morally because we wouldn’t be interested in sitting through a seven-hour debate (like people did with Lincoln and Douglas back in “the day”). TV is a visual entertainment; does that mean it won’t be enduring? You could say now that it’s not enduring, in fact: compared to books, how often do you come away from TV thinking seriously about what you saw? In MindWalk you do, but it’s a struggle because we have become so conditioned to think of TV as entertainment alone. I haven’t finished Postman, but perhaps his argument against television as a serious communication medium would be challenged if we had all been raised to think about what we see rather than simply absorbing it. Additionally, he makes no mention thus far about people like me, raised essentially without the major influence of television, for whom the written word comprises the major influence. I learned my news via the Seattle Times, not those beautifully impossible people spouting the most audience-capturing propaganda (so I read my propaganda rather than hearing it). Would it be better for us to retreat to the hills living on squirrels and skinny rabbits we roast over a crackling, unsanitary fire?
(A guy just skiied by outside. It really is storming here… the weather predicts up to half an inch of ice accumulation overnight. Dad, how bout mailing me a pair of those snowshoes sitting in the garage?)
Additionally, I am interested in the impact of computers on what he calls this Age of Show Business. They transmit information faster than television, even; computers propagate lies like old cheese does mold; they emit radiation that could harm us; they damage our wrists, eyes, backs; they could be argued to control us. It may be possible that one day they will be come intelligent on their own, though the impacts of such an occurrence stretch even my fertile imagination. They entertain us endlessly, on the other hand, though Postman might not consider that a positive thing; they help spread the truth even with lies; the connect people quickly and cheaply; they increase the effectiveness of writers; they provide occupations for thousands, possibly millions, of people. And have I mentioned that they’re cool? If computers and television are similar in other ways, I’m missing it. Do the good outweighed the bad? If it weren’t for computers, Ian and I would communicate by telephone alone since he isn’t much for letter-writing, so naturally right now I’m biased.
Finally, community. Who doesn’t want a close-knit loving group of people to surround them? Maybe some people have become so independent that they reject help, but I think God made us to be in close relationships with others and with Himself. When I talk to people I feel this emptiness: meaningless words exchanged, mocking or not. What good is talking if it means nothing? Don’t other people feel the desire to know others? How can I walk around every day alone, talk to people online and feel dirtier than I did before, laugh in person and know that’s a silly lie even as I do it? Would it be better for me to not get up in the mornings, then? Seven AM comes too soon, starting another day of unfulfilled longing. “Hanging ropes will never keep you, and your love of a jealous kind.” My desires are too high, I think, because for all I do my Bible study every morning I hear so little any more aside from the roar of the diesel engine.
Enough of this idle speculation. Bit of a song I’ve enjoyed lately: “I walk through flame, I touch the fire, you know that I still burn for you/Flood water rain crash down, soak the ground, still I thirst for you…” I highly recommend the newest Jars of Clay CD. Also, my nose remains bloody all the time, and I am going to run out of Kleenex soon.
– KF –
29 days (less than a month!) to my husband.