Thursday, May 16, 2013

Boring Ourselves to Death

“It is my opinion, that Americans have a deep and unacknowledged boredom.”  English poet Rudyard Kipling.1
Last night I watched the documentary Captivated, a film warning about the dangers of over consumption of media. The documentary explained how our brains our hardwired to focus on anything that moves; probably a reflex to protect us from danger. However, the screens move all the time, so we are always watching. And, while we think we are relaxing, the documentary explained, we are not. We are having brain exhaustion and draining while doing nothing. It explained that the average child consumes over 50 hours of media a week. Such amounts of excess brain stimulations is harmful for many reasons.
Media is not a real world that we interact with, it is something that is in front of us, a virtual world. We watch things we do not really enjoy, simply because we are glued to it. We are always so bored, and we think we watch, log on, or view because we are having fun.
The dangers are there and very, very evident. But besides the risks involved in such mass consumption, what is on the screen, what we are experiencing, is portraying worldviews that we really do not agree with.
Mass killings, where the object of the game is to destroy, to rob, to blow things up. Virtual war games which people spend hours of time playing, reminds one of the coliseums. Many Americans would not go to the Roman Games, but we will go to them in our virtual worlds.

“Man is lost and lonely in the postmodern world.”-Francis Schaeffer.
The real world is not a great place to live in the postmodern world. We have to get away from our decaying society, so we escape into a virtual world. It is easier; we can always start over if we mess up after all. In the real world we may be dead beat bums, but in the game world we feel that we are accomplishing something.
The Christians usually either run from the virtual world, which includes internet, or they embrace the madness. The Christian worldview-the true one that Scriptures lay down-calls on us to take all things under subjection for Christ. That includes everything, because the earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof. (Psalm 24:1) So whether it is cows or computer clicks, all must be brought under the headship of the God of the universe. There are other things to accomplish than killing the most zombies or growing the most crops on Farmville. A world of 0s and 1s should not control us.
Mankind existed for almost 6,000 years without Facebook, we can too for a while. Staring at a screen usually accomplishes nothing.
To view the virtual world properly, we must look at every aspect of it from the viewpoint of how we can take dominion of it and use for the glory of our creator. If it is so distorted that nothing can be made of it then abandon it.
Television is not completely bad. Groucho Marx found it very educational. He said every time someone switched it on; he went into another room and read a book, maybe we should to.

Andrew C. Abbott

1: From his autobiographical sketch Something of myself.

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