Friday Five – Volume 79

Friday Five-Mere Observations

— 1 —

One cannot help but notice that in this Age of Tolerance that those who are most vehement about imposing tolerance are the most angry. About intolerance, I presume. They are angry to the point where any disagreement, dissent or questioning of their pure, pristine motives is shouted down and ridiculed in the public square. One cannot question their motives. One cannot reason with them through the use of rational discussion.

If it wasn’t so frightening and fraught with consequences the whole thing would be amusingly absurd.

The Angry Man
by Phyllis McGinley

The other day I chanced to meet
an angry man upon the street —
a man of wrath, a man of war,
a man who truculently bore
over his shoulder, like a lance,
a banner labeled “Tolerance.”

And when I asked him why he strode
thus scowling down the human road,
howling, he answered, “I am he
who champions total liberty —
intolerance being, ma’am, a state
no tolerant man can tolerate.

“When I meet rogues,” he cried, “who choose
to cherish oppositional views,
lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with my banner
till they cry mercy, ma’am.” His blows
rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there
still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
“Let the Intolerant beware!”

— 2 —

Behold, one angry man of tolerance. (Warning: language alert.)

“I’m sick and tired of Christians being tolerated. You need to do something about Christians on here. I don’t feel comfortable with them.”

Lovely.

— 3 —

New technology – like the computer – freed men and women from all kinds of drudgery, saved them vast amounts of time. . . . And yet the time saved did not seem to mean additional leisure or greater opportunities for meditation and reflection. Instead, with each new wave of technology, the pace of life increased; there was more to do, more choices to make, more things to experience, and people eagerly seized upon those experiences and filled the hours that had only moments ago become empty. Each year life seemed to be flitting past with far greater speed than the year before, as if God had cranked up the control knob on the flow of time. But that wasn’t right, either, because to many people, even the concept of God seemed dated in an age in which the universe was being forced to let go of its mysteries on a daily basis. Science, technology, and change were the only gods now, the new Trinity; and while they were not consciously cruel and judgmental, as some of the old gods had been, they were too coldly indifferent to offer any comfort to the sick, the lonely, and the lost. – Dean Koontz (The Door to December)

— 4 —

In 59 days my oldest son ships off to Marine boot camp. On the following day my plans as of now are to delete my Facebook account entirely. I’ve deactivated before, but this time I plan to delete it altogether so as to avoid the temptation to go back. I find that it’s not unlike the decision we made last November to disconnect our satellite service. One gets addicted to the noise and despite the huge amounts of time and money wasted it’s hard to disconnect from it. Social media is the same. Huge amounts of time (which does equal money of some sort or another) is wasted, but it’s hard to disconnect. I find myself using the same justifications I used for delaying the eradication of 300+ channels into our home.

Everyone has it.

I won’t know what’s going on in the world.

It’s how I stay connected.

What bullshit we tell ourselves.

It’s a time vampire. It’s also the most narcissistic exercise invented by man. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, or perhaps it’s because I want more time alone with my thoughts and not the world’s. A big part of it is because this is an election year. I refuse to relive 2012 all over again. I mostly held my tongue and continue to hold it as friends of mine post the most vile, insane crap about people they don’t even know while in the next breath posting a pretty picture of a pristine nature scene with some mantra about how open-minded and forgiving they are. Does no one notice? Are we that unaware of ourselves? Facebook has also seen fit to tell me everything that friends of mine “like”. And I am learning that not a few friends of mine frequently like articles hostile to my beliefs as a Catholic, but also things that insult me as a man of family, self-reliance, natural and Constitutional law.

Do they feel the same way about me as they do other Catholics or conservatives? Am I really an intolerant homophobe because I don’t believe you can simply change a thousands year old definition to suit the whims of the age? Do they consider me a racist for believing in national sovereignty and in a nation that enforces its borders? Am I truly a misogynist because I support the Hobby Lobby decision at the Supreme Court? Do I consider them all hopelessly historically illiterate for not understanding that societies and civilizations have crumbled in the past and will do so again for adopting many of the progressive stances being drudged up again today? Do they lump everyone into the same camp or is it simply laziness or for ease of the click of a button that we “like” something?

I figure they consider me those things by association, while I consider the depths of their thought process as that of a sidewalk puddle after a spring rain. So we’re both guilty.

No one can be bothered to discuss things anymore. I’ve had my comments deleted on Facebook by those who don’t want to think beyond their worldview, or been told that an issue of the day is “just too complex to discuss” while article after image after meme is slapped up on their wall.

This is no discussion. This is akin to babies smearing poo from their diaper on a wall and pointing at it proudly as if to say “See what I did?”

We’re better than this. Aren’t we?

I simply do not need to know those things. Some would say I do. But I don’t. I love my friends and acquaintances, but I do not need to be connected with them so much that I get to see pictures of what they have for dinner every night.

  • 26 out of 45 customers spend an average of 3 minutes taking photos of the food.
  • 14 out of 45 customers take pictures of each other with the food in front of them or as they are eating the food. This takes on average another 4 minutes as they must review and sometimes retake the photo.

Just as I do not need to know  what they had for lunch they probably do not want to know what ballgame I’m watching, book I’m reading or sadness I feel regarding the events in Mosul, the Ukraine or elsewhere.

Read the article. It’s eye opening, yet sadly not surprising. As it says:

We are so engrossed in ourselves and in our technology that we lose sight of the importance of the relationships we have and the importance of experiencing things rather than recording them.

— 5 —

Several weeks ago I’d mentioned my desire to create a writing space in my backyard via the construction of a gazebo. This is what inspired that thought.

gazebo 1

gazebo 2

Here’s what contemporary author Neil Gaiman said about his enviable, Mark Twain-esque writing gazebo in the book Shedworking:

“I had the gazebo built about 15 years ago, and go through phases of using it, and then I’ll abandon it for 5 years, then rediscover it with delight. I love walking to the bottom of the garden, and settling down to write.

Nothing ever happens down there. I can look out of the window and some wildlife will occasionally look back, but mostly it’s just trees, and they are only so interesting for so long, so I get back to writing, very happily.

There are heaters down there, because it gets cold here in winter, and blankets on the chairs, ditto, and I have to try and remember not to leave bottles of ink on the table as they freeze. It’s just out of reach of the house Wifi, too, which is a good thing.”

I’ve got the perfect location scouted out in my yard. Since I won’t be taking or looking at pictures of food I figure I’ll have the time to build one.

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6 thoughts on “Friday Five – Volume 79

  1. I agree about getting rid of Facebook. I got rid of mine 4 years ago, and it was the best thing I ever did for my online “life.” I got so tired of reading everyone’s self-absorbed rants and BS about political issues that they knew nothing about and seeing all their pictures as they tried so hard to portray a perfect image of their lives and relationships. And I felt like I was being self-absorbed by being on there.

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    • Thanks for commenting Maggie. I’m just as guilty and prone to jump in with the self-absorption and afterwards ask myself “Why?” It’s just not necessary and has hindered our ability to have any sort of a meaningful discussion which would thus deepen our understanding of one another and foster better relationships…all of the things we claim Facebook does, but really doesn’t. During those times when I’ve deactivated my account for weeks I found myself more involved in my life and loved ones, being more creative (whether writing, playing music or working on a home project) and overall more at peace. But I understand that to each his own and this is only my opinion and experience, though I hear and read it being echoed more and more.

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  2. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love using it to keep in touch with distant friends and relatives. My 2 grown kids and I use it to chat quite a bit, which is the primary thing that keeps me on it, to be honest. Most of my friends keep things light and rarely post on controversial subjects. For the few that do, they always seem so angry, and their comments are often not well-thought out. I highly recommend using the option to un-follow, it’s very handy in a few cases.

    Regarding the video of the atheist– I did not bother to watch the whole thing ( a few minutes was plenty) but I suspect mental illness could be a factor with the poor man.

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    • I suspect the same regarding the man in the video. But having witnessed first hand the frothing vitriol of pro-choice activists (and others), or in video footage, or online, his anger is not isolated. It is everywhere today. So much righteous indignation. So much blind hate.

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  3. Hi Jeff.
    I just wanted to follow-up on a previous discussion we had on finding purpose. I think I had mentioned something or implied a sense of losing hope because I have seen so many battles lost. BUT, I wanted to tell you that I learned that it was my impatience that was getting the best of me. It was like, “Hey, God. I’ve been doing good things. Show me the results. I need results now. Now, now, now.” [chuckle please]. What pride! Anyway, I learned this about my struggling spirit as I was standing in line for Confession, no less, and have felt so much release since then. It’s God’s time; not mine. He’s got it all figured out. Not me. He knows when to move, and when to be still. He is working marvelous things–I just can’t always see it.
    Anyway, I went to Adoration today, and felt that I needed to share that with you. This world, the people whom God loves with an everlasting commitment, can be very frustrating, I know. We just have to trust that God is doing the best He can, and we have to do the same, loving even the most troublesome somehow, anyway. God only knows, I am very troublesome to Him, and, yet, He is so patient with me. You know what I mean?
    Have a lovely weekend! God bless…

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  4. Pingback: The Friday Four: Embedded Links | Maggie Madly Writing

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