The Information Highway – is it worth the Risk?
Where are you Wisdom? We abandoned you for the sake of Knowledge! Where are you Knowledge? We lost you in the pursuit of Information! (TS Elliot).
There is little doubt that in our times, the most expensive item is an item of information. For its discovery, collection, and transmission, we spend enormous amounts of money. Dealing with items of information has become one of the most popular and profitable industries, whilst at the same time it has acquired a significant degree of influence in our society. So, we now have the mass media (television, radio, printed press, internet, etc), supported by an enormous number of information agencies, which collect, compose, censure, and even manufacture the information items they prefer to distribute.
In the past, information was spread by word of mouth, arriving many times altered or distorted – though not always on purpose – but compared to our times, quite delayed. Today, we can access any event, in any part of the globe, at will and instantly, whilst sitting at home. You can say, that our generation is really privileged. But are we? Most probably NOT!
The access of information that abounds in our days has many negative aspects. The information “superhighway” is not uncommonly a source of anxiety and stress. “How is an international or national event, a political decision or the appearance of a new social philosophy, going to develop? What effect can it possibly have on my life or that of my children?”
The anxiety generated by excess information, many times irrelevant to the vast majority of people, frequently creates unanswered problems. New items of information become necessary, requiring a more “objective” study of the problem. The result is that man becomes lost in a maze of information items, which are of no use to him at all!
On the other hand, the information highway creates a “false” truth. This type of truth is thought to be identical to the “new”, the “necessary”, and “pure knowledge”. As a result, for many, truth is nothing more than knowledge of what is happening. The result is that such mentality transposes the meaning and purpose of life. For many, it appears to serve the truth. In reality, it mostly distorts and destroys it.
If we ask ourselves, “how does excess information serve the truth?”, we shall hear the words of our Lord saying: “Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free!” (John 8:32). Only the truth, as revealed by our divine Lord is real truth. Anything else is useless distortion, which alienates one from reality, to the extent that “I exist” is equated to “I am informed”, “I know”!
On listening to the news these days, the thinking person cannot help but be confused, because information released by the mass media concerns only what is happening, but hardly ever why it happens. We hear only what is ephemeral and spectacular, which deprives one of the ability to delve into the deeper meaning of life.
We have created for ourselves the situation where no spiritual value has any meaning, though we well know that no society can survive without values. The advice Benjamin Disraeli (former British Prime Minister) gave to Queen Victoria on the subject of education is pertinent, “We should be teaching not facts, but values!”
The Christians find themselves facing a problem, for which no one is offering an answer. But an answer exists. There will be more about this in the next issue.
Source: February-March 2015 Lychnos Edition