Summary: This line from a Simon & Garfunkel song describes the breakneck pace of our technologically advancing culture. How do we go about tuning out the world and tuning in to Christ, striving to be faithful Christians in today’s world.
Bibliography: Cultures Shifts, Lesson 3
The world was forever altered in 1436 when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Although forms of printing had existed for approximately 400 years, Gutenberg’s moveable type made out of metal revolutionized the printed world. In 1440, he completed the Gutenberg Bible. From that point on, Scripture and information was forever placed in the hands of the individual person. The world was set on a new course, where each individual could make his or her own informed choices about his or her future.
The world was forever altered in 1971 when Ted Hoff developed the microprocessor.
Stephen Wozniak and Steven Jobs revolutionized the world when they started a new computer manufacturing company named Apple Computers.
By early 2001, approximately 60% of U.S. homes contained a PC, and many homes contained more than one. 63% of the U.S. workforce now use a computer on the job daily, in every conceivable application - from receptionists answering computerized telephone systems to cashiers ringing up sales in Wal-Mart on registers that are tied into vast computerized databases.
The world was forever altered in 1969, when work began on the ARPAnet , grandfather to the Internet by the United States government.
Under ARPAnet several major innovations occurred including email, remote connection service; and file transfer capability.
A U.S. Department report “The Emerging Digital Economy” is quoted as saying
“The Internet’s pace of adoption eclipses all other technologies that preceded it. Radio was in existence 38 years before 50 million people tuned in; TV took 13 years to reach that benchmark. Sixteen years after the first PC kit came out, 50 million people were using one. Once it was opened to the general public, the Internet crossed that line in four years.”
Once again, the world was revolutionized, this time by the internet.
Advancements in technology have improved many aspects of our lives. However, as Craig Miller points out, one of those changes has been to decrease the time we have available for making decisions.
Craig Miller writes:
“We are rapidly entering a multimedia culture that bombards us with images and sounds from a variety of sources...Today people want instant decisions confirmed by fax or email...The pace of our lives has accelerated to a breaking point.”
Craig provides us with some examples. He asks us to consider how his comments that I just shared were generated. He wrote them on a lap top computer aboard and airplane flying over Arizona at hundreds of miles an hour. Within arms reach of him is a telephone by which Craig could call a friend in Seattle on his car phone while he is traveling in another direction at 60 miles an hour, and they would sound like they were standing in the same room together.
What do we do with all the information zooming at us and the rapid pace of technological development?
In recent day I heard it remarked email has made it so much easier and faster to do our jobs. Many times we can select, copy, and paste information in order to share more, faster.
In a survey conducted in the spring of 1995, young Americans between the ages of 14 and 30 indicated that the two biggest events that impacted their lives was the Rodney King beating and the ensuing L.A. Riots and the Gulf War.
For the first time with the Gulf War, and more recently in the war on terrorism we are able, not only to receive updates minutes after attacks and military maneuvers take place, we can actually watch the war AS IT HAPPENS! We are there, on the sidelines. Suddenly our military is faced with an issue it never had before - how to keep operations secret in order to retain the element of surprise.
Certainly the WTC & Pentagon attacks will now be the # 1 event impacting lives. But I can’t help wondering what impact the Gary Condit and Chondra Levi story and the “Hockey Dad” case will have on us, as well. The media has elevated these stories to an unnatural level of importance for our lives. The media is determining what we pay attention to.
A goose named Petunia once noted in a children’s story that, “She who has books is wise.” Events impacting her life caused her to alter her beliefs to indicate, “She who has books and reads them is wise.”
However, if there is one thing we are discovering in our information age, access to more information is not making us smarter.
We no longer must struggle to receive information, we now struggle to leave its presence. Invariably the cell phone will ring and interrupt the person to person conversation we are having.
The barrage of information has not increased our ability to cope. It has not made us all that wiser, as we had hoped. Information once had a purpose. Its intent was to make our life better because we were more aware.