Consuming to our doom

Yesterday, I listened to a pretty terrifying but informative podcast on Joe Rogan with Tristan Harris.

Say what you will about Joe Rogan, at least he has created the space for people to speak about issues who are not being given any airtime on mass media platforms.

I don’t know if you remember but Tristan Harris was on The Social Dilemma (Netflix). He also has a podcast called Your Undivided Attention on Apple. Tristan has founded and runs the Center for Humane Technology.

If you can handle the language of Joe Rogan, then it would benefit anyone alive today (especially if you have kids) to listen to what is happening on social media and how it is conforming you to a bot. Yes, we are being shaped and moved by bots, AI and troll farms that have been produced to sow discord. I am not trying to be hyperbolic but our inability to think critically, our disordered affections and our unwillingness to love our neighbors as ourselves have caused us to be pushed toward technological, environmental, physical and relational doom.

Without a doubt, we are in a real crisis with real catastrophes beyond the horizon. Though it would be rather easy, we cannot simply blame social media companies, unfettered capitalism, government corruption or our dysfunctional institutions and systems. Instead, we must individually look at ourselves and start asking some real questions about who we are, what we are doing and where our affections are dragging us.

Though Soren Kierkegaard died in 1855, he is still speaking to the issues that we are dealing with today and offering us opportunities to see that the problem and the answer to all our problems can only be found in truly knowing and loving ourselves, others and our places.

It’s interesting that Kierkegaard spoke about “the three levels, degrees or realities of the human are what we can call (or at least what Kierkegaard referred to as) the: Aesthetic, Ethical and the Religious.” This morning I read the following “For Kierkegaard, the aesthetic stage, in which one passes from momentary attachment to momentary attachment, could never bring the individual to full maturity. To move ever more restlessly from possibility possibility is to end, ultimately, in despair.”

👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 Does this not remind you of our consumer culture? Have we not be told, taught and encouraged to live perpetually in the aesthetic stage- scrolling, searching, purchasing and consuming momentary attachments? Is this why we are so lonely, distracted, sad, anxious, angry (being tossed from one feeling to another) and addicted to the pursuit of “happiness” even though it results in despair and immaturity?

We have to Wake up! Our hope is not in science, technology, political parties, the government or a different operating system. Our hope is a relationship with Truth and Love. And through this relationship, we can participate in renewing of our minds, the restoration of our spirits, hearts, minds and bodies. We can also participate in rebuilding the places where we actually live and reconnect with our neighbors. This is the practice of resurrection that resurrects us to new life and it requires us to participate with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.

We have to do something other than sit here and amuse ourselves to death. We have to follow the way, the truth and the life. Remember what Treebeard said in Lord of the Rings… “Of course, it is likely enough, my friends,’ he said slowly, ‘… that we are going to our doom: the last march of the Ents. But if we stayed at home and did nothing, doom would find us anyway, sooner or later. That thought has long been growing in our hearts; and that is why we are marching now. It was not a hasty resolve. Now at least the last march of the Ents may be worth a song. Aye,’ he sighed, ‘we may help the other peoples before we pass away.’…

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