We live in an amazing time. One can pick up a device and within seconds connect with someone living half way around the world via text, images or sound. Back in the last half of the last century of the second millennium, the more typical scenario was for someone to send a letter which would arrive in a few days or weeks, unless sent to a really backwards area and then it might take months or never show up. My in-laws sent a telegram before leaving the US to go on the mission field. Arriving at the airport they found no one waiting for them. The telegram arrived days after they did. Telephone service was “iffy” at best clear up to the final decade of the century. When our youngest son was born we called my wife’s parents to let them know. To do so we had to go to a neighbor’s house and borrow their phone. We tried three times and never heard a word from my in-laws. But we DID get the bill. About $10 US equivalent PER CALL – that never went through. So today when we can use VOIP (voice over internet protocol) to chat with friends and family “in real time”, we are truly blessed. Using WhatsApp has been a real boost to keeping in touch with my siblings. Email is checked multiple times a day.
The downside to modern media, however, is an information overload. Many people struggle with sifting through and understanding what is really important to know, and what is merely hype from a sensationalist entertainment oriented “news industry”. One of the reasons why people are unable to handle the amount of information nor are they prepared to sort it properly is the simple fact that most people are no longer educated. Oh, they may have a High School Diploma, or even some kind of “sheep skin” from some institution of “Higher Learning”, but they confuse those things with a real education. Rather than learning to think, reason and search for truth, they prefer to swallow whatever pre-digested “truth” is served up to them by those who control the media.
There is in our society a lamentable disinterest in knowing what went before. Random street surveys show that huge portions of our society are unable to name the major participants in the most recent world war. Shucks, many of them don’t even know what century that war was fought in, much less the decades in which the events unfolded. And forget inquiring about the Civil War, much less the Revolutionary war. With such an overwhelming ignorance of our past, it is no wonder that people do not know what to think about our present.
Personally, I revel in the marvelous technology that has given us modern communication methods. But at the same time my heart mourns for those who are lost in their life’s journey, overwhelmed by the world around them and oblivious to the underlying dangers of their entertainment based lives. As a friend is fond of quoting, “We have become a fundamentally unserious people.”