Silence Versus Distraction

In here, Mr. Garibaldi, you cannot hide from yourself. Everything out there has only one purpose, to distract us from ourselves, from what is truly important. There are no distractions in here. You can learn much from silence.

Citizen G’kar
“Messages From Earth”
Babylon 5, Season 3

Have you ever heard, “We’re too busy”? Have you said it yourself? Through God’s creation, we have been blessed with many things. Satan (yes, I believe he exists) takes those wonderful things, and corrupts them, and that’s what this post is about.

The one thing I like about Science Fiction is the way questions can be asked without being threatening, but still be thought provoking. The quote above from Babylon 5 (Wikipedia entry), is one of those. Cellphones, wireless networks, Blackberrys, and now iPhones surround us. Constant noise. Think about casinos. They are engineered to be the noisy places they are: to distract.

As life has caught up with me, I no longer have the time I probably need for solitude. I might very well be less for it. With 3 kids, a cat, a dog, and way too much technology to play with, I’m at that point where I am afraid of solitude.

About the only time I get it is very early in the morning a couple of times a week. I can focus on silence and God. That time of solitude, though little, and relatively rare, I think keep me from completely snapping at times. As we become more distracted, we reach out in less tangible ways. I look at MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other such sites (I’m guilty of this too, as you can see to the left) and see people aching to connect.

People say they are more connected now, but are they really? Kids are text messaging their parents into the poorhouse. They are text about inane things. Are they really connected to each other? Really?

My wife and I had one of those really deep discussions the other night, discussing friendship. We talked about people we know who have lots of friends. Neither of us do, but then, we need our friendships to be deep ones. Really deep.

Adults who aren’t living children’s lives say that kids these days have just as meaningful relationships as people did a generation or two ago. Hmmm, so if my “friends” keep updating me via Twitter on what they’re doing, that’s connected. I think that says more about the adults making the statement than the kids.

So what’s this about Satan, again? While the first liar has been perfecting his art for a long time. A very long time. We need these things, this (albeit very cool) electronic stuff, to keep in contact with each other. No, what we need is to take a deep breath and connect.

I’ve heard many folks saying that the “Old World” has it right. People spend hours in the café talking with each other. There is a lot of truth in that, however, there is a lot of sloth in the rest as well. There has to be a balance between the hyperactive (and thus shallow) interactions, and the long (slothful) interactions. Both have their place, but like all things, they can go too far.