February 21st, 2009

Atlas

When the sidewalk no longer ends

I'm perpetually trying to jam more content, and more of the wrong kinds of content, into my life than it will hold. With near-constant, low-cost access to an almost limitless amount of information and entertainment, I'm a glutton to the point of overload. It'd be easy to complain about being overloaded, but the truth is, I'm the one doing the overloading, almost all of the time. And mostly, I don't even know it.

DVRs and RSS feeds capture streams of anything in which I could possibly have a remote interest, so I can sift through them later for meaning or distraction. Hyperlinks take me even farther out, offering stimuli to amuse, spur my thinking, or even provoke my feelings (positive and negative). Here's the problem for me: much of that isn't connected to my real life and relationships. I say "for me" because I want to stop short of saying that's how it works for everyone. Whether the tools themselves are flawed is an open question; it's how I'm using them that's causing damage in my life. I don't think I'm alone—I'm just telling my own story.

Of course, I immediately want a system to fix it, but that impulse is suspect. For now I want to sit with the fact that I'm increasingly occupied with stuff that's not really in my life. Thankfully, my actual life and relationships have enough gravity to pull me out. But I don't want to spend life being stimulated or depleted by a bunch of people and stuff that couldn't care less about me. Ultimately, that shows contempt for the life God's given me. It's also self-abusive and potentially harmful to others. Why I do it raises a whole other set of questions, but they don't need to be answered right away (if at all). That's not the work that needs doing right now.

This, and a bunch of other stuff, may really be all about glory. More on that when I have time.