The Facebook people have made a good living from exploiting our need to make links… to communicate…
But how can it be wrong to express your feelings… to share information… chat?
Of course it’s not wrong. It’s not the need to talk that’s out of balance. It’s the sheer bulk of drivel that threatens to overwhelm real communication.
Wasn’t it Mark Twain –reflecting on a new US telegraph link who said something like “Now you can speak almost instantly from New York to Philadelphia… It remains to be seen whether you can find something worth saying.”
And that’s the point isn’t it?
The writer of Ecclesiastes made the same weary point thousands of years ago. “Of making books there is no end.” Of communicating, he meant. And it was the same guy shaking his head wearily saying “Vanity, vanity…”
We are drowning in a sea of chatter.
And all around us the telephone wires are singing, singing.
Hey, did you hear that thing about a circle of mobile phones be able to hard boil an egg in two minutes? Imagine that mental pressure on a global scale as instant pieces of trivial information zips across continents, singing out banality while our brains are boiled.
I want to tell the world instantly that I’m going to have a bath. You don’t have to listen, but I just want to shout it out. An act of self-affirmation? A proclamation of self-absorption? A bid for my fifteen minutes of celebrity.
A virus of small change.
I blame Edison. He kick-started the whole shebang after all. But for the man himself: Edison was deaf in one ear and only had 20% hearing in the other. He refused medical treatment which might have led to a cure on the grounds that he preferred to be able to concentrate in silence.
You often hear the phrase “too much information.” I take it to mean that there are things that I would prefer not to know. That I do not need to know
What’s wrong with Facebook is that exaltation of quantity over quality.
E.E.Cummings wrote: “I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach a million stars how not to dance.”
Do you see it? The incredible importance of being truly alive… of living positively, spiritually. Quality. Not quantity.
Here’s some interesting old-fashioned words
Bonhoeffer said “the right words come out of silence”
I want to find the courage to shut up.
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