Technology is not necessarily a bad thing. Not necessarily. …
Certain facets of it, though, are quite savage in their nature and effects. Consider the news, and in particular the effects that technology has on the role of the media and news.
It used to be that if one desired to read news about events happening across the continent — much less on another continent — one would have to wait at least hours, and more likely days or weeks, for the information to travel to the local newspaper. Once this happened, one would read the newspaper account and then get on with life.
Contrast this with the modern methodology of things — brought on and aggravated by the advantages and connectivity that our technological sophistication provides us.
If one lives in the United States and something of interest happens in Russia, it is entirely possible that one will hear of it within minutes, or at the most an hour or two, assuming one has even a moderate amount of technology as a part of one's daily life. But this is not the evil from all our advancement and sophistication. We don't just read about events once in the newspaper, but we are instead assaulted by a veritable barrage of different sources and mediums going over every detail again and again and again.
We don't "read" the news. We don't even "watch" the news. We dwell on it. We chew on it, worry it, like a dog with a bone. And like the dog, we return to whatever the media chooses to vomit up. It's fed to us over and over. It's told and retold until it grows and reaches the pitch of hysteria, regardless of how great or insignificant the matter may be in reality.
If we pay any attention to the media, we are force-fed much that really would not have been of much concern to us had it not been forcibly brought to our attention and then kept in front of our noses for days or weeks, rehashed in one manner or another.
One could say of much of the modern media what G.K. Chesterton said of journalism long ago: "Journalism largely consists in saying 'Lord Jones is dead' to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive."
The modern media dwell on such things until people feel they knew Lord Jones personally.
We dwell on what the media feeds us — and then we wonder why we are depressed. We hear over and over again how such-and-such did this to so-and-so — and wonder why we are in a foul mood. We hear what's-his-face put his slant on the atrocity that happened over there over and over again — and wonder why things seem so hopeless. We consume refuse — and then are astonished to find that we feel quite like refuse.
This is not to say that news and media do not have a place. However, how news is distributed and consumed needs to change. Consuming the same regurgitated stories about current events over and over again throughout the day can only be harmful.
This isn't a new idea — being careful what is allowed into the mind. A man named Paul saw this almost two millennia ago. He had a remedy, a maxim many know but few seem to put into practice:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise — think about these things" (Philippians 4:8).
What a novel idea, that we are what we consume and what we think about. A novelty perhaps worth putting to use to our own advantage.
Caleb J. Anderson lives in Alexandria, Minn.