Friday, March 30, 2012

Instant Information- Is it a Good Thing?

We live in the electronic age.  We are bombarded with information nearly every moment we're awake.  News comes at us in 24 hour cycles.  Twitter gives us news instantly and as its happening.  Facebook tells us what's going on with our friends or anyone we're subscribed to.  Television, radio, websites, email, blogs, all are there to feed our hungry eyes and minds, but when is enough enough?

Most of the news we receive isn't the uplifting kind.  Sure, there's the occasional story about a soldier coming home and surprising his child.  Or the dog who saves his owner's life.  These are uplifting, but they come all too rarely.  More often the stories are like that of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed kid in Florida who is gunned down by neighborhood watch volunteer.  Or there's the story where Evangelist, Pat Robertson said homosexuality is a form of demonic possession.  Then there's the story of a snow plow driver and his wife who kidnapped, beat, strangled and killed a woman basically because they were bored.

After having an argument on Facebook with one of my "friends" about the Pat Robertson article and whether homosexuality is wrong and I need to repent, I decided I'd had enough. I had reached my breaking point and could not process any more bad news.  I had to step away from the computer and smart phone.

Also in the news this week, there was a story of a Jet Blue Captain who began babbling things that scared his fellow crewmen and passengers aboard a flight to Las Vegas.  The co-pilot had to lock him out of the cockpit while several passengers pinned him down until the flight made an emergency landing.  He was apparently having a meltdown.  He kept saying over and over, "things just don't matter."

My question is this:  Do any of us have any idea how close we are to such a melt down?  Its hard to watch all the media feeds us and wonder, what's the point?  Is there any hope for mankind at all? Does anything matter?

Its an election year so each side paints a more dire picture of the other side and we start believing the other guy is going to make it worse for us.  The economy sucks, but it's getting better.  No, it's getting worse.  Gas prices are up, no, they're down.  Unemployment is down, but more layoffs are coming.   By November, we are polarized and paralyzed and just want the negativity to stop, so we walk into the voting booth and lay our token down on the roulette wheel.  Is it going to get better or worse?

November is several months away.  Maybe the only way we get there in one piece is by putting away all the information overload, and spending time each day processing the beauty of the world right at our fingertips.  The blooming flowers.  The taste of the enchiladas a loved one made for dinner. The words on the page of your favorite novel.  The moving images on the thirty foot screen.

The world will still be there blowing itself up when we're finished, but at least for a few hours each day, we can take a break from the insanity.

Now I can honestly say I completely understand those people who give up everything and move to the mountains, desert, beach, etc.... If nuclear war comes, at least there will be a gorgeous sunset before the lights go out.

I apologize if this entry seems too negative or fatalistic, but its because I do think things matter and we do deserve better, that I write it.  If I didn't I'd be too drunk to write anything.

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