Today it’s so easy to communicate and use all kinds of media around the world which is quite beneficial and good. But this unhealthy obsession with all kinds of television, computers and cell phone media, is also a tactic to distract us from the realities of life.
There far more important things like communing and spending time with the Lord in prayer and Bible reading apart from being entertained all the time which makes us escape the realities of life. When you walk down the street, you see young boys and girls with their hands on their mobile phones or on the tablets, iPhones talking, texting and communicating most of the time.
I read a report recently that said that fifty percent of the young people in England, driving their cars are either talking on the phone, sending text messages, or they’re on Facebook; although it against the law. Apparently around 50% of the population in England takes their smart phone to bed and they wake up in the night checking their phones because they want to get the latest text message, tweet, email or Face book update.
Again the first thing most of us do in the morning is to check our e-mails or smart phones and likewise the first thing we do when we check into a hotel is to ask for internet connection. There is Wi-Fi connection everywhere, on the bus, train, restaurants, shopping centers etc.
Our age has been described as the information revolution and entertainment age because people are so distracted by all these kinds of devices. There is now a documentary called Captivated detailing all that going in Western society. The documentary demonstrates the dangerous obsession with television, social media and how it is destroying the effectiveness of the average person.
We have more of every kind of media-movies, television shows, more television channels, and satellite radio stations, You Tube, Google, Twitter, Skype, podcasts, blogs, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Pin interest and many others.
Neil Postman wrote Amusing Ourselves to Death, which seems to be prophetic considering the effects of the media and the television on the way we conduct ourselves in our public and private thoughts.
In the introduction to his book, Postman said that the modern world was better reflected by Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984. Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing: Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother was required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity, and history.
Huxley saw that people would come to love oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. Postman makes the point that “there is no reflection time in the world anymore.” A student named Jonathan said:
When I go to a restaurant, everyone’s on their cell phone talking or playing games. I have no ability to sit by myself and just think.
Postman noted that in America or the West, it is great to be an entertainer and God favors all those who possess both a talent and a format to amuse, whether they are preachers, athletes, entrepreneurs, politicians, teachers, or journalists. He wrote:
What George Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.
Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared we would become a captive audience. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared that we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, a preoccupied culture. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited:
The civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.
Huxley described these non-stop distractions as feelies, orgy-porgy, and centrifugal bumble-puppy, which deliberately distract people from paying too much attention on the realities of the moral, social, and political situation, instead focusing on selfish interests.
In the last 50 years very few people had telephones and there was no internet. For instance, in some countries to call overseas, you had to book a call pay for it, wait for at least 45 minutes to an hour in a line and when your turn came, either you couldn’t hear them or they couldn’t hear you.
In 1983 author Ben Bagdikian wrote in his book, The Media Monopoly that 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States, and fewer than two dozens of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media.” When Bagdikian pointed out this fact, he was branded an “alarmist.”
Bagdikian predicted that the number of media outlets would fall to about six companies. When he published the sixth edition of The Media Monopoly in 2000, the number had predictably fallen to six. Since then, these corporations control almost all America’s newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, and now the internet. These occupy a major role in the commerce and private life of the entire population.
Everywhere you go, you are surrounded by giant screens. Has today’s media drawn us together or more individualistic? Place a frog in a saucepan of very hot water and its survival instincts are activated immediately. Place the same frog in second saucepan of lukewarm water, it will choose to remain where it is. Now gradually increase the temperature, by slow degree, and a strange thing happens.
The frog gradually habituates to the increasing heat until it will happily tolerate the temperature which made it leap from the first saucepan. Remember the temperature is raised slowly enough until one by one of its vital organs began to fail. Eventually, the frog is boiled alive. This unhealthy obsession with television, computers and cell phone media has dumbed down the average person that the goose is cooked and the frog is boiled.
For those who are afraid that our society is in danger of becoming something out of Orwell’s 1984. It has come to that already, exactly as the Bible predicts will happen in the last days.
The prophet Daniel predicted that would be an explosion of knowledge and a huge increase in traveling systems in the last days. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4) There has been explosion of knowledge beyond anything ever experienced in human history.
The rate of technological change has accelerated at an alarming rate that it is becoming impossible for any individual, no matter how brilliant, to fully comprehend the total amount of knowledge now available. There are more scientists alive today than in all of human history.
It is estimated that today the sum total of human knowledge is doubling every two years, and other gadgets like phones and others are being modified every three months. What if Albert Einstein was right when he reportedly said, I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots. Are we becoming idiots?