Monday, March 16, 2009

I have already decided

that next year I am going to give up the Internet and my cell phone for Lent. This, after reading in Kathleen Norris' Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, and A Writer's Life that "broadcast and Internet news media have emerged as acedia's perfect vehicles, demanding that we care, all at once, about a suicide bombing, a celebrity divorce, and the latest developments in nanotechnology. Advertisements direct our attention to automobiles; medications to combat high blood pressure, hemorrhoids, and insomnia; the Red Cross; a new household cleaner. When the "news" returns, there are appalling segues, such as the one I witnessed recently, the screen going from "Child Sex Offender Search" to "Gas Prices Rise." It all comes at us on the same level, and an innocent from another world might assume we consider these matters of equal importance. We may want to believe that we are still concerned, as our eyes drift from a news anchor announcing the latest atrocity to the NBA scores and stock market quotes streaming at the bottom of the screen. But the ceaseless bombardment of image and verbiage makes us impervious to caring. As Thomas Merton predicted, our world has been flattened, and we've been had." (128-129)

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