Thursday, September 15, 2016

Living in the Past?

Ned Ludd, Leader of the Luddites

 Today I was asked, "Why do we have such a hard time living in the present? Why is everything either the nostalgia of the past or the hope of the future?"

 I can't really answer the latter part about the future as my hope of the future is fairly limited to watching my children grow and my grandchildren grow and having a farm and spending my life with my wife etc.

 But the first I have given a lot of thought to. Here are just a few thoughts I have had on the issue.

1. Rapid Change in the 20th century

 Think of how rapidly our society and technology has changed in the last 100+ years. Nothing of the past really exists the mainstream culture of materialism and the fast food, give it to me now mentality. We exist in a world where time is money and individual craft gives way to mass produced garbage.

 Older people long for the nostalgia of their past because they've seen things change entirely to fast.

 2. Virtual Reality 

 We are increasingly becoming a culture of virtual reality. Computers, Smart Phones, TV etc. have become the portal through which we view the world. The natural world is a world that is viewed through the computer screen. Pokemon Go is one of the first steps of integrating the virtual world with the real world. Kids no longer go to the park to smell the fresh air, the woods. To see the birds and other wild life. They would rather spend their time hunting a fictional creature through their iPhone screen than to enjoy the real beauty of God's creation. Games are fine and dandy, but I have a hard time when the game becomes the lens through which we view the world. Instead of grabbing a stick and pretending to be King Arthur rescuing Guinevere from a dragon in an act of heroic chivalry, they'd rather put on a back back and baseball cap and try to "catch them all".

 We are increasingly out of touch with reality in all the wrong ways.

 The reason we are in the throws of a roots and folk revival is because the world of technology and virtual reality leaves us empty and void of purpose. Our communities have been utterly devastated by Television. Community events, sports and gatherings suffer from this.

 3. We no longer have a moral compass.

 The motto of the age is "Don't Offend" and "Be Tolerant". The only absolute truth is that there is NO absolute truth. Do what feels good as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. This is our biggest problem.

 Nothing is sacred. Religion? That's the way of the intolerant past.

 We no longer live in a world where right and wrong are clearly defined.

 So again, why this affinity for the past? Why can't we live in the present?

 Because at present we have lost the ability to think outside the virtual reality. Sure, some avoid this, but as a society we are driven by social media.

 I for one love and mostly identify with the thought and principles of a pre-industrialized world which is the whole reason this blog exists. The fact that I am writing a blog on my computer about living and identifying with a pre-industrial world is the irony of this whole thing. But, no matter how principled I am about it, I am a child of this age. My reliance on this technology is something I hope to scale back in the years to come. But I digress....

 From this Christians perspective, we need to live in this world but we need not be of it. Some may misconstrue this to mean complete separation from this world and all it's trappings. Others think we need to be completely up to date and trendy if we are to influence the culture.

 I suggest a middle road.

 Live your life in the present by being a witness of Christ's love and mercy, no matter your vocation. From the farmer in the field, to the business man in New York City. Wether you have an affinity for the old or an affinity for the new.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven." 
Matthew 5:16


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