Please take the time to sit quietly with Andrew Sullivan’s recent article on sitting quietly. My family has been emailing our responses to each other. (Yes, I recognize the irony.) In addition, if you haven’t already seen Photographer Eric Pickersgill’s photographs on the isolation effect of cellphones, take time to check those out.
One of my sons-in-law emailed his first thoughts on Sullivan’s piece (which will make more sense if you’re read Sullivan’s article) which I’d like to share:
Thanks for sharing this. I’ve felt this way for years – just a vague fear of what social media and incessant connection is doing/will do to us. It’s why I postponed getting a smartphone for many years. And it’s why I quit Facebook a few years ago. Not to proselytize, but I’ve barely missed it at all.
“For if there is no dark night of the soul anymore that isn’t lit with the flicker of the screen, then there is no morning of hopefulness either.”
What I’ve found is that not only is it hard to find time away from the screens and little meaningless validations, but it’s increasingly hard to even want it – to want to spend some quiet time or to even ponder “enduring it.”
I think you could put together a church/organization/group that basically takes all its direction and meaning from these thoughts from the article:
“The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn…If the churches came to understand that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction, perhaps they might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation…It is the routine that gradually creates a space that lets your life breathe.”
Aren’t we all suffocating? I’ve found it’s virtually impossible to resist the urge to check notifications or texts or messages. But what isn’t impossible is turning off notifications (e.g., email while on vacation) or – better still – just ending my co-dependent, unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship with social media. I really don’t think it does anything positive for our lives. It’s just giving little dopamine boosts – just like a Percocet or a cigarette drag – and we find that we need more and more, we need it to go to sleep at night and get out of bed in the morning, that 11 “likes” aren’t enough anymore.
People say they can’t live without it. I think they’re almost right. I think they can’t live with it.