Tuesday, March 12, 2013
There is too much to know, too much to understand, too much to read, too much to do for any one person. It is easy, very easy, ridiculously easy, to get caught up in the "too much" overload, the "too much" addiction. Especially today, with all the electronic devices that make is possible to read and search and peruse and google and on and on. It is even all to possible to study, thereby giving ourselves even more to DO. For instance: if my car or washer or drier or computer needs repair, I can go on the internet and find any number of sites that will show me how to make the repair. This is a good thing, to an extent, but it also places a burden on me, because now I have no excuse for not repairing the appliance or vehicle or computer or whatever. Speaking of the internet, it is all to easy to use, so even when we're not terribly interested, we can get sucked in so that we neglect what we really ought to be doing, because what we really ought to be doing may be less interesting, and less easy. I have read that in the days before automation, people were actually less busy than they are now. For instance, instead of appliances, very many people, even all but the most destitute, had someone, a servant or slave delegated to do the things that we now do with vacuum cleaners and the like. Well, we can't want to have slaves, but there are a lot of people out of work in the world because we have machines to do the work they would have done. I ask you, is it better for 30 men to sweep the streets of a city, than for one man to do it in the early hours of the day with a loud, expensive machine? Anyway, my point is, technology and automation and devices in general, make it all too easy to get sucked into busy-ness, to want to read and know and study and peruse and experience everything. Even in terms of travel, are we better off today because more of us can stand on the Great Wall of China, or go to Rome to witness first-hand the rising of the smoke from the Papal Conclave? I don't think so. Are we better off today because we can look up information and news on reuters.com and wikipedia, and mentalflos.com instead of either not knowing a fact (or speculation) or looking it up in the dictionary at home, or in the encyclopedia in the library, or asking your mother or grandfather? And then, there are all the options for so-called communication. Twitter, Facebook, reddit, blogs, (this blog) SMS and texting and email and on and on and on. Does this mean we are in better contact? Are our communications fruitful, useful or, more importantly, even virtuous? Often, no, in fact, often our digital communication is downright uncharitable and sinful. Look at the comments on most news articles and blogs. Too large a portion are very mean and unkind and negative. So, there is too much to do, too much to learn, too much to read, too much to experience. In the end, there are really only two things that matter, to do one's duty and to practice charity. I may go through life being the last person to have heard who the new pope is, and the only human to not regularly tweet or post on Facebook, but if I have done my duty, and I have been charitable and avoided judgment of others, I will have done what I ought to do. So, now I'm going to get to it.