I am a loner. I’ve been called insular, and at times, this has been the accurate description. What I am not, however, is lonely.
I watch interviews with people on YouTube; perhaps famous, perhaps not. These interviews can be about the dangers of social media, technology, the modern world, etc., and yet so few speak with authority on these matters. There is a self-censorship which most often manifests in soft language. Perhaps the person speaking wants to home in on the isolating aspect of social media. In doing so, they will use soft language to describe the poison of this isolation. “I just think that maybe we’re not showing our true selves on social media,” they might say. Their hand gestures and the upward lurch of the tone of their voice tells the tale, that they want to make the declaration that the isolation of social media is bad, but they don’t want to offend anyone, or attract criticism for their opinion. Understandable, but mistaken.
The isolation brought on in our culture by social media is a pox on the entirety of humanity. To say otherwise is to mince words. And yet social media is but one danger in our modern culture.
The majority of modern culture is upside down. Nothing means what we are told it means. There is nothing social about social media. There is nothing about connectivity brought to us by technology that actually connects us. Our medications do more to harm than heal us. A credit score is nothing but a means to an end to spend more money on things that we do not need. Entertainment is indoctrination. An online community is nothing of the sort. A smart phone is an idiotic device. The news media has nothing of the sort to give us. Reality has been upended by the virtual, and our culture writ large has no idea what to do about it, so it does nothing at all about any of it but foment it all by giving more hard earned dollars in order to stay placated and numbed.
Highly publicized ‘mass shootings’ by patsies, psychopaths, and the broken plague American culture. Understandably, there are so many who wonder why don’t we just ban all guns. But this will solve nothing. The ‘mass shooter’ is but a symptom of the heartbreaking condition of the culture we live within, and cannot be stopped by laws. Laws do nothing to resolve spiritual death. Gun laws could be so harsh as to be regulated by door to door searches of Americans’ homes, and these broken people would not be stopped.
Our media is complicit in the madness as it drools like the hungry hyena for the next mass shooting to occur, so that it may garner the clicks, ratings, and money that it so desires. While our news media feigns its concern about our brave new world of the insane killing others with bullets, it masturbates each times another shooting happens, knowing that it will be fed another fat meal like the corpulent beast that it truly is. I often ask myself why there is no culpa for these asshat fools running their collective mouths, lying to us about how concerned they are about life. These feckless, perfidious talking heads do nothing but feed us our own deaths on every channel, believing themselves to be some sort of force for good, and we, the people, sit back and let them spin us up into such a rage that we jump on our social media accounts and blast out rage-filled opinions about everything but the real problems we face. “Something has to be done!” we say, while being completely unwilling to tear down the media complex that feeds us while we also feed it. Our media complex would have no means by which to indoctrinate us were we not so damned willing to be indoctrinated, outraged, and gullible.
Our media complex preys upon the weak, the confused, and the psychologically damaged in order to sell its wares to us. And again, it could not do so, were we not so willing to be fooled, lied to, and manipulated. Why are we thus? It is, like the ‘mass shooter,’ because we are spiritually dead. One can go to church, mosque, or synagogue every time the doors fling open. One can read the Bible or any other book of religious texts every day. Prayer of a sort can be practiced. And yet all of these things will not preclude the condition of our heartbreaking modern culture: that of spiritual death.
We no longer, as a culture, go outside. We no longer gather as a community in person. The average person in first-world culture spends the vast majority of time in front of a black mirror screen, conjuring whatever demon we desire that will lie to us in order to keep us from having to face what we have become. Nature is lost to us, and so the quiet voice of God with it.
Evil is loud, obnoxious, and demanding. It never relents. Evil has a constant refrain of temptation coupled with guilt when we so easily fall victim to our own desires. It is like our technology, ever nagging and compulsive, demanding to be fed at all times, and when we ignore these demands, we are punished.
Not so God, who seeks to gently guide us toward peace of mind and wholeness. God will not shout His way above the din, but rather will wait for us to listen to His teachings. Despite that our modernity offers us access to His word in ways never dreamt of before, we no longer listen to Him. For His way is not that of complacent comfort and instant gratification. His quiet words demand responsibility and purpose, self-discipline and reserve. So despite that we can find His word online, we will not hear His voice until we step away from our virtual world and walk out into His creation.
What can we do in such a heartbreaking culture in order to keep ourselves from falling victim to the plagues of our modernity? Balance. It is the nature of all things. Moderation, common sense, and self-discipline. There are many who seek to displace themselves from modernity entirely, but for most, this is not even remotely possible. Too many that we love can often only be found within the confines of our modernity, and though it would be much easier to isolate ourselves from everything, in doing so, we rob those that we love of our own resolve to maintain our sanity. Who knows how many that are trapped by our modern culture could be loosed by a few words from us, or seeds planted when they watch us set boundaries for social media, television viewing, or keeping up with the ‘news’ of the day? To run and hide seems almost antithetical to the reason we might cite for disappearing. Those of us who see the madness know that there are so many who do not, and if we run from it all, who is left to speak of balance? Who is left to assure those who feel isolated and alone that simply being alone need not mean feeling the debilitating effects of loneliness?
Modern culture seems new but it is truly a very old kind of warfare: that of the spirit, and more potently spoken, our very soul. In our heartbreaking culture, souls are being lost by the day. Let those of us who hold onto ours so dearly find ways to help those who are close to abandoning theirs.