Wednesday, March 9, 2016


I have a theory. We have become, in our blind haste into mindless progress, dependent, vulnerable and essentially helpless because we don't have to think for ourselves anymore. We have worshipped at the alter of the dubious gods of convenience and speed until we have become enslaved to the concept that any innovation that removes us farther away from effort is better. 

At the risk of being labeled ‘anti-progressive’ I confess out loud I see immeasurable damage done in the past thirty years to basic human resourcefulness and general problem solving skills simply because we have capitulated to the system and/or advertising that brainwashes and manipulates our thought processes. What intangibles in terms of instincts and creativity have been exchanged for nothing more than quick results? 
Years ago I taught people how to make things. The first obstacle I encountered was the attitude that remains pervasive in this electronic culture. "I'm not creative" is what I’d hear over and over again. I would sigh and respond to this by asking this question, “Did you believe that when you were a child? Were you born that way, or was it leached out of you over time because you never had to use your creativity?” 
I have never seen a new human who wasn't curious and inventive. I have, however, met plenty of grown humans who have forgotten this. Creativity goes hand in hand with independent thinking.
I realize my philosophy on this issue won't set well with techies who make their living using their creativity to make devises that ‘make life better’. But what about the end user who loses, in bits and pieces, day by day, the ability to think and do for himself. It is a subtle erosion, almost imperceptible and fraught with hidden danger. 
For example, I chose not to have an ATM card early on, because I could see down the road that I would become dependent on it. Have you ever been in a hurry for cash and then had your card refused because the magnetic strip was damaged? A little thing you say? But without this crutch, I am responsible to myself to remember to plan ahead and go to the bank when it is open. Call it a routine exercising of my embedded memory chips. It could certainly be argued that a debit card is only a tool and should be used with prudence. But, in general, people are too busy and lazy to be prudent so they allow themselves to be the used instead of remaining the user; controllee instead of controller. 
Inch by inch the condition of modernity is causing us to lose our grip on self-responsibility and accountability because it is easier and indeed faster to let someone or something else do the thinking and ultimately shoulder the blame when something goes wrong. "I can't believe this stupid machine is out of order and now where am I going to get money?!" instead of "Oh, man, I should have stopped at the bank on my way home!".
Can't stop progress, can't stop progress, I can hear the mantra now. But I'm not suggesting we stop progress and return to the dark ages. I am only saying I see the handwriting on the wall and I am making small choices for myself based on what I see and know about human nature, most particularly my own. This includes not embracing every innovation just because it’s ‘new’ and purports to make my life easier and more convenient .
So, I ask questions. Will this modern convenience contribute to making my brain turn to mush? More importantly does it prep me for blindly accepting things I should not? And yes, I'm a maverick, perhaps dangerous even, to hold fast to independence and self-reliance. But I trust the old axiom about being true to one's self. 
And what I know about myself is that I feel the most secure and less at the mercy of the misjudgment of others when I think independently regardless how far outside the box that puts me. While this often makes me odd man out, frankly, I’m used to it. Okay, so no one gets me. I’ve made peace with that. At this point it feels more like a badge of courage than rejection.
Plus, as it turns out, I have a mandate, from the One I truly trust, to be in this world, but not of it. 
For Him,


  1. Yes! I've been an advocate of "enforced boredom" for children ever since mine were all little people, and they have creativity oozing out their pores these days. They have made up games, worn out countless bicycles, animated entire civilizations of stuffed animals, and used up gallons of paint in their efforts to amuse themselves. In recent years I have learned about gravity-defying feats that let me know I should have been watching a bit closer . . .but gray hairs and wear and tear on the house notwithstanding, I'm with you. Our brains need to be used, and technology seems bent on relieving us to that joy.

    1. There remain pockets of individual thinkers, here and there, like you. Not as many as was once the norm. I guess it’s not unlike being a remnant. Right? ;-) Being old enough to have grown grandkids I can say that I fought the good fight with my kids and then with theirs. But times are changing so rapidly now. I cannot help but fear that the tsunami of the digital age and the accompanying perspective that a handheld devise is the only brain one needs will get worse before it gets better is upon us.

      Crazy me, I wrote down all the important phone numbers I can’t remember anymore on the back of a business card and put it in my wallet. Why? Cell phones are vulnerable to being disabled or lost. Plan b - think and always have plan b. Not many understand the concept of plan b anymore. Sad.

    2. Yes, the times they are a changin' and (dare I say?) not for the better. As I read your reply, I know for a fact that my two younger sons have way more media time than their two older brothers did. I don't like that at all, but there seems to be a change even in the way we do business in our home now. Praying for grace to stay the course and discernment to respond - rather than REACTING - to circumstances with my hair aflame!

    3. Truly I have no problem with change - was it Dickens that said the only constant is change? I do so appreciate indoor plumbing. It’s mindless change for the sake of change that seems to be our nemesis. But where to draw the line? How do we discern what is good and valuable and simply taking us backward in subtle increments? I think the key is whether or not the change pulls us away from God.

      I love what Tozer had to say.

      Blessed Maladjustment!
      The second prominent tragedy is that the gospel churches are confused and intimidated by numbers. They accept the belief that there has been change and that Christians must adjust to the change. The word used is adjustment. We must get adjusted, forgetting that the world has always been blessed by the people who were not adjusted. The poor people who get adjusted cannot do much anyhow. They are not worth having around. In every field of human endeavor progress has been made by those who stood up and said, "I will not adjust to the world." The classical composers, poets and architects were people who would not adjust. Today society insists that if you do not adjust you will get a complex. If you do not get adjusted, you will have to go to a psychiatrist. Jesus was among the most maladjusted people in His generation. He never pretended to adjust to the world. He came to die for the world and to call the world to Himself, and the adjustment had to be on the other side.

  2. Yes! for enforced boredom Michele! Can't tell you how many times my husband has said how important it is for kids to learn to handle boredom. We too have a pretty creative crowd--oh the games they did invent from nothing. Having handheld 'brains' has been a real threat to all this, but I see the creativity rising again in our grown kids ( : Thanks for speaking your mind, Meema... I hear you!

    1. If you live long enough and you pay attention to the basics of human nature, you see that things go one way and then a couple generations later they go back. Complex morphs to simple, hard colors fade to soft. The pendulum swings back and forth. I love the old quote from Brian Andreas - I know there is balance in life, I can see it as I swing by. :-)

  3. "Modern" appliances were marketed as giving you the ability to have more "free time" instead of being bogged down with chores. While I would not want to revert back to hand-washing clothes, the question as I see it is: What is the purpose of all this new free time?

    So many women still raise the children and do most (if not all) the cooking, cleaning, etc. around the house. So they have been "freed up" to do all that PLUS work a full time job to help pay the bills. Wow! What a bargain!

    So now both parents are short on time at home and what gets tossed aside most often? Jesus. Bible study. Prayer time. Teaching life values.

    Sitting around the dinner table together and discussing our lives - giving children real tools they need to live - has fallen by the wayside.

    How to think, how to make decisions, how to exercise discernment is blowing in the wind, not taught to the next generation.

    Dependent idiots raising more dependent idiots. Wow! What a future to behold!

    I am not against progress . . . I partake in the new "stuff" like many others - some things by choice others by necessity. However, Jesus, prayer, Bible study, face-to-face conversing, take priority. I am not special nor unique in this but you would never know that listening to what is peddled about over the airways. "Normal" people are still in the majority but it seems no one notices. Only those "visionary" types that envision a world without Jesus and God's law are popular.

    1. Could not agree more! I actually did a whole series on this topic - way back in 2014 - Real Life in a Virtual World - but I think a recent Tozer Devotional really speaks to this from the Christian perspective:

      Change: Regress or Progress
      I challenge the idea that we are advanced. I know the majority of modern educators, newspaper writers, TV personalities, radio reporters, politicians and all the rest do not agree with me. Nevertheless, I challenge the idea that we are any further advanced than they were in the days of Jesus. If we are so advanced, then I want to ask some questions. Why do we kill thousands of human beings each year with automobiles? Because we ride automobiles instead of donkeys, we are advanced? If we are so advanced in our day, why are the penitentiaries packed full and the mental hospitals crowded? If we are so advanced, why is the whole world a powder keg? If we are so advanced, how is it that we have weapons that can annihilate the world? If we are so advanced, why is it that people cannot walk alone in the parks anymore? Why is it that workers who get out at midnight never walk home alone anymore? Why is it in this advanced age that drugs, violence, abortion and divorce are soaring? There is a mind-set that thinks every motion is progress. Every time you move you are progressing. Then there is the mid-set that thinks whenever you move in a straight line you are going forward, forgetting that you can move in a straight line and be going backward. The tragedy of the century is that Protestants have accepted this as progress and actually believe it. . . .