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How New Media Are Destroying Our Lives
Catholic Vote ^ | May 30, 2014 | Tom Hoopes

Posted on 05/30/2014 3:25:36 PM PDT by NYer

smartphone alan wang

Plato worried that the new media called “writing” would ruin our memories – and he was right.

“If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks.”

Martin Heidegger and other philosophers worried that the typewriter would make our thinking more mechanical. They were right, too.

Each new medium has diminished man a little – radio made us expect to be entertained all the time; television hurt our ability to concentrate – even as each has added scope, ease and distance to his ability to communicate with others.

The Church has promoted each new medium (from radio onward, anyway), and it should – focusing on the good a new media can do, despite the risks. (Tomorrow, I will post: “How New Media Are Enhancing Our Lives”.)

June 1 is World Communications Day, and Pope Francis properly promotes today’s even newer media in his World Communications Address … but first, he explains some of the drawbacks.

I’ve noticed some too.

smartphone christmas diana shnuth

Cameraphones ruin moments, forever. A recent study says so but we all already know it. In the middle of quality time with our family, we scramble for our phone such that we focus not on the beautiful, moving, enriching moments, but on the self-referential act of capturing them. Then we take a picture that never gets printed, and rarely gets seen, and are left with a compromised memory of a compromised event on top of it.

 

facebook-news-feed-2012

Facebook is training in narcissism. The exaggerated feelings of self-importance a narcissist feels make the world feel like a movie starring them. So does Facebook. It forces us to recast activities in our mind in marketing language that will make them seem fascinating to others. We don’t just go to the park with our kids looking to enjoy each others company, we go to the park with our kids looking for a sharable moment. We hate the way TMZ treats celebrities’ personal lives; we are the TMZ of our own life on Facebook.

 

restaurant ulf bodin

TVs in restaurants tell us our lives are inadequately interesting. It used to be that you had to go to a sports bar if you wanted to watch TV in public. Now TVs seem to be everywhere. Their message is clear: You, and what you have to say, is not quite interesting enough to sustain the attention of the person you are with. They need distractions to bear being with you. And television, a world where everyone is an entertainer, is the distraction par excellence.

 

jane fader

That pornography is now commonplace teaches us that others exist for our pleasure. Real people have personalities, needs and demands. They require affection and appreciation and gratitude. Moments in which they allow our desires and wishes to dominate their actions and thoughts only come when we are willing to do the same for them. But pornography creates a fantasy world in which all of that “realness” seems intolerably tedious and virtual sex slaves become our new ideal of pleasure. Or, in other words, it expands the television world where everyone is an entertainer into our most intimate lives.

 

google

Smart phones’ browsers replace wonder and memory with Google search skills. Instant gratification of our material desires leaves us unable to build long-term, long-lasting satisfaction over time. We grow impatient with every pleasure that isn’t in our reach. Instant intellectual gratification does the same thing to our minds. Before, if we wanted to know who directed Twelve Angry Men or whose picture is on the two dollar bill or how many feet are in a mile, we either had to use our memories, ask a friend, or make a conscious decision not to care. Now we can Google it from wherever we are and what Plato feared from writing is true to a horrifying degree: Our memories are truncated and our wonder is fading away.

 

att&T love stories

Together, all of this gives smartphones a creepy outsized place in our lives. Friends have always been invaluable: They are there to assist us, divert us, coax us to generosity, and lend an extra brain where necessary. Friends are still invaluable, but phones have inserted themselves into large swaths of the territory loved ones once occupied.

Our phone is the first thing we interact with in the morning and the last thing we interact with at night. Our phone catches us up on the news over breakfast, and we need our phone to capture our moments during the day to fill the newsfeeds of our lives. Our phone has games to divert us, and is a portablewindow into the the world of entertainers that exists for our pleasure that we need to escape into.

We can relate to AT&T’s new commercials and almost miss how creepy they are: People talk about the phones in their history as if they were people.

So … what could possibly be good about all this? Tune in tomorrow …


TOPICS: Catholic; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: media; society

1 posted on 05/30/2014 3:25:36 PM PDT by NYer
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To: Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 05/30/2014 3:26:06 PM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: NYer

So we sit in a cave and wait to die?


3 posted on 05/30/2014 3:34:46 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Kirkwood
So we sit in a cave and wait to die?

Do you disagree with all of these assertions? I found the article to be refreshing. Is there some reason why we need to have tv screens in a restaurant? What is wrong with conversation? It can be challenging to grab someone's attention in conversation when their eyes are focused on a tv screen. As for the the cell phone's ability to "record the moment", what actually happens to those memories? Are these preserved for future viewing or relegated to a moment in time that has just passed, and we move on?

The author has addressed your question with the final statement: So … what could possibly be good about all this? Tune in tomorrow … Please remind me to post the sequel.

4 posted on 05/30/2014 3:44:21 PM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: NYer

“Tomorrow, I will post: “How New Media Are Enhancing Our Lives””

Add to the list of “shortest books ever written”.


5 posted on 05/30/2014 3:44:37 PM PDT by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth.)
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To: NYer
I found the article to be refreshing. Is there some reason why we need to have tv screens in a restaurant? What is wrong with conversation?
I agree and I'll also throw in restaurants/bars with music so loud you can't hear the person sitting next to you.
6 posted on 05/30/2014 3:48:45 PM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: NYer

Media is a result of WHO posts WHAT on it....I am on FB....but most of what I post is Political or historical...If you are a narcissist, it will just be a reflection of you no matter how you communicate...ie...I refuse to participate in the Happy Birthday activities...and i do NOT have my real birthday or city of birth listed


7 posted on 05/30/2014 3:55:05 PM PDT by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods)
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To: NYer

It’s all about moderation.

I do despise TVs in restaurants unless it’s a sports bar. I dont want CNN pumped into my face while I’m trying to eat.

My smartphone is very important to me as a way to keep in touch quickly and get useful info.


8 posted on 05/30/2014 3:58:06 PM PDT by VanDeKoik
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To: NYer

For the most part I do disagree. Too bad you never answered my question.


9 posted on 05/30/2014 4:02:38 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: NYer

This is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations. Yes, the internet has changed our lives in very dramatic ways. Some changes have been good. Some have been bad. In my case, my life was totally changed because of the internet and the World Wide Web. (emphasis on world wide)


10 posted on 05/30/2014 4:07:20 PM PDT by AlexW
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To: NYer

Everything he says is true, of course. But there is another side. The new media are useful when used in moderation.

How would we know what Plato said about writing, if it hadn’t been written down? How likely would it be that we would have the Iliad and the Odyssey if they hadn’t been written down for us to read? Even if that makes it difficult to write more epics now?

Google search is probably bad for young people who would otherwise commit more stuff to memory. On the other hand, it’s very useful for an oldster like me, who remembers something vaguely but needs to use Google search to recover the details. You still need to remember enough to know what to look for.

Too much internet can be destructive, but without it, the MSM would be totally irresistible.

In other words, yes, there are two sides to the coin.


11 posted on 05/30/2014 4:10:28 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero; All
Too much internet can be destructive, but without it, the MSM would be totally irresistible

Indeed. The Internet has opened the news to Everyman.

The kind of people who get sucked into narcissism or pornography with technology would find other forms of expressing their character defects without it.

BTW, word processing is a gift from God, as far as I'm concerned.

12 posted on 05/30/2014 4:24:42 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Conservatism is the political disposition of grown-ups.)
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To: NYer

My goal is to one be rich enough to leave electronics behind and never be bothered again.


13 posted on 05/30/2014 4:31:38 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: Jeff Chandler
BTW, word processing is a gift from God, as far as I'm concerned.

As one formally educated in the use of a typewriter, I would have to concur. In my first job, each document typed included 5 onion skin papers, separated by carbon papers. If one mistake was made, the entire document was tossed and the process began anew. Hence, emphasis was placed on one's ability to type without error. Of course, once someone announced that no mistakes could be made, a mistake took place and the document was tossed.

The problem with word processing, however, is the introduction of spelling and grammar checkers. No need to describe how these systems fail; simply look to the web or your local newspaper for examples. Automation cannot distinguish between "to, too, and two" or "thru and through". The nuns taught us our grammar and I have never forgotten it. When working with word processing software, I turn off the spelling and grammar checkers.

14 posted on 05/30/2014 4:36:34 PM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: oh8eleven

Funny.

Went to our local outside, hip and upscale mall to take a friend to lunch.

The first two places were unbelievably loud. Food was asian themed and would have stayed too but, we had to raise oir voices to speak with the waitress. Too frickin much.

Went to the next place. Only a few people there but, easily communicated to with the waiter.

Had an awesome ribeye with some delish marrow that was easy to scoop.

Very pleasant atmosphere and enjoyed conversation with my friend.


15 posted on 05/30/2014 4:40:27 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: Vendome
The first two places were unbelievably loud.
The other occasion that comes to mind is a wedding reception, especially family weddings.
You haven't seen many of your relatives for years and then you can hardly speak to them over the noise.
16 posted on 05/30/2014 4:52:50 PM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: goodnesswins

Glad I’m not on FB.


17 posted on 05/30/2014 5:51:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

I for one find the enhancement of information availability almost exhilarating. I am ‘old’ school, from before we had TV. We had one phone in the house and it was on a desk and was powered trough a cord. I had friends in the country who had big old phones with a crank, and they were on ‘party line’ because there weren’t enough phone lines to go around for everyone to have one. I remember when we had to go to the library and search manually through volumes to get a few pieces of information. I remember when we had to use Strong’s Concordance to find a passage in the Bible that we could partially remember, but did not know where. I remember when the first McDonald’s came to Des Moines where I grew up, and it was amazing that we could get a decent hamburger for 15 cents. I remember my Granddad’s 1934 Ford V8 four door (four ‘suicide’ doors), and it had a ‘trunk’ on the back. I learned to drive on that car, btw. My granddad lived with us in Des Moines. He was native of Sweden, and as a teenager made his way to Nebraska with brother, sister and parents.

And I remember my first computer, dos based pc with a 30 Meg hard drive. I learned on an IBM pc with two floppies but no hard drive. I learned to do ‘everything’ on that, and when I got my own with the 30 meg hard drive, a ‘computer expert’ friend of mine said, ‘you will never need that much hard drive!

It was not until the late 90’s that I learned about the internet and ‘web pages’. Wow, information. And we had our own novel web page that helped find long lost cousins. How about that!

Also in the mid 90’s I got my first ‘cell phone’. It was a ‘bag phone’. And expensive to use. But it worked unbelievably well as a communication devise. And after that I had various cell phones that were just phones! And then, finally, a year ago, I got my first ‘smart phone’. Yup, it is smart, and hope someday I will catch up with it. But I am learning to like it. Even given over to texting, but NEVER while driving! An accident waiting to happen!

Today we have, if we want it, information overload. And as a researcher, I am whole heartedly in favor of the availability of information. I thrive on information. And at my age, it is astounding that I can access information about ‘anything’! And I am an information ‘hog’. I have the capacity to remember much of what I read, and save it on my pc so can find it again with searches.

Wow, if I could have ‘secretly’ had all this info at my fingertips, literally, I could have been a ‘real boy wonder’. No wonder kids are so smart today!

But I am a year and a half away from being an octogenarian, and I ain’t done learning yet!

So no, the new media are not destroying our lives, unless we are ‘sheeple’. I am not ‘sheeple’. I will never let all the technology control me. My plan is to control it to my benefit. I have clients who depend on what I know through my research. I will benefit those clients by my relentless search for knowledge. We can be masters of what otherwise would master us.


18 posted on 05/30/2014 7:05:50 PM PDT by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a Tea Party descendant...steeped in the Constitutional Republic given to us by the Founders)
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To: NYer
Plato worried that the new media called “writing” would ruin our memories – and he was right.

“If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks.”

With all due respect to Plato, there is more stuff to remember now than there was then. It can't all be passed down orally. Someone has to take notes.

Besides, folks wrote before Plato. Was he being facetious?

19 posted on 05/30/2014 7:13:00 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: equaviator
“Tomorrow, I will post: “How New Media Are Enhancing Our Lives””

Add to the list of “shortest books ever written”.

Believe me, I can be as cynical as anyone. That said, even if the only entry in that "shortest book ever written" is "FreeRepublic.com," that fact alone will make it all worth it.

20 posted on 05/30/2014 7:17:29 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: NYer

“In my first job, each document typed included 5 onion skin papers, separated by carbon papers. If one mistake was made, the entire document was tossed and the process began anew. Hence, emphasis was placed on one’s ability to type without error. Of course, once someone announced that no mistakes could be made, a mistake took place and the document was tossed.”

I was one of two boys in my high school typing class. I knew I needed to know how to type. And I did a lot of typing in high school and college after that.

When I was in Basic Training in the Army, one Saturday we were in formation and the Lieutenant asked if any of us knew how to type. Normally you do not volunteer for anything, but I said I did know how to type. I was ordered to report to the orderly room, and for the next two weeks I replaced the company clerk, who was going on leave. The No Errors allowed applied to everything I typed for that two weeks. I soon learned to type error free. But, oh how it would have been so nice to have a word processor then!

And as for the Word Processor not knowing, that is okay, because I know. I regularly over-rule my built-in Word Processor corrections.


21 posted on 05/30/2014 7:17:47 PM PDT by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a Tea Party descendant...steeped in the Constitutional Republic given to us by the Founders)
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To: GGpaX4DumpedTea

I was at Benning in 1983 and whoever had the assignment of getting the company newsletter out got to type it out on a mimeograph thingy. An error required putting some kind of liquid on the stencil, letting it dry, and then re-typing the word. Oh, what fun.


22 posted on 05/30/2014 7:20:56 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido

White-out


23 posted on 05/30/2014 7:26:03 PM PDT by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods)
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To: NYer
Before, if we wanted to know who directed Twelve Angry Men or whose picture is on the two dollar bill or how many feet are in a mile, we either had to use our memories, ask a friend, or make a conscious decision not to care.

Or we could go to the library and look it up. That option seems to be deliberately side stepped. Probably because it is the exact same thing you do with Google except now it is a bit easier.

Countless pointless arguments can be settled with a few keystrokes leaving us with more time to enjoy being with other people.

24 posted on 05/30/2014 7:46:58 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (Proud Infidel, Gun Nut, Religious Fanatic and Freedom Fiend)
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To: NYer

When the light turned red on us yesterday at a corner, the three other people standing there all pulled out their smartphones.


25 posted on 05/30/2014 10:51:23 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: Berlin_Freeper
Walk to The Mall
26 posted on 05/30/2014 11:11:34 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: NYer
Catholic Playlist Show - Episode #40 - May 30, 2014
27 posted on 05/31/2014 12:08:36 AM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: Larry Lucido

I agree.


28 posted on 05/31/2014 5:08:21 AM PDT by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth.)
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To: GGpaX4DumpedTea; NYer

Ah yes, Army & typing. My section chief told the 1SGT that I could type and I became the shadow clerk for the 6 weeks before the annual general inspection retyping all of the battery commander’s policy letters, DFs, & etc. We had just gotten a new commander a couple of weeks before. The 1SGT did offer to have me given a clerk-typist’s MOS as my secondary (I was a 13E, field artillery fire direction center) so that if I decided to make a career of the Army I’d have a 2nd MOS to make it to retirement if my hearing got too bad to continue working with the guns. I declined saying that if I stayed in it would not be in artillery. 3 years later I reenlisted for military intelligence


29 posted on 05/31/2014 6:52:38 AM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Kirkwood

Well, take cell phone for instance. they didn’t exist 15 years ago. Anyone who is paying attention can see that they are robbing people of their ability to interact with the people around them. They are isolating and somewhat dehumanizing. People used to sing, and in some places like England and South Korea they still do. But here in the USA very few people seem willing to expose themselves to embarrassment by singing.. The songs of todays pop culture are no singable, why? Because they are aimed at people who don’t sing. Every bit of progress is not necessarily a good thing. I asked my students to copy something off the board and one of them said they could not read some of the words because my handwriting was bad. So I said they could copy it from page 96 in their book. And then they said, “Why should we copy it if it’s in our book?” If you don’t understand the problem with that sort of attitude then you are part of the problem. Of course I wanted them to write it down so that they would actually become more familiar with it. But the mentality is that they can just look it up on their phones or “whatever”. We are creating lazy people with all our technological gagets.


30 posted on 05/31/2014 11:34:34 AM PDT by RichardMoore (There is only one issue- Life: dump TV and follow a plant based diet)
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To: GreyFriar

My son was a gunny in the Marines. Even developed a faster way to put guns on target that has been written into the manuals.

But as for ‘military intelligence’...some would say that is an oxymoron :)


31 posted on 05/31/2014 4:22:54 PM PDT by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a Tea Party descendant...steeped in the Constitutional Republic given to us by the Founders)
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To: oh8eleven

I completely agree with this. When my wife and I got married, we instructed the DJ that our preference was that the music volume should be lowered such that it fades into the background and doesn’t inhibit conversation among our guests.


32 posted on 06/02/2014 7:47:16 AM PDT by Crolis ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it." -GKC)
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To: Crolis
Good for you, very thoughtful. What really gets me is going to a non-family wedding and getting seated in front of the DJ's speakers.
Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh
33 posted on 06/02/2014 7:51:07 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: NYer
Automobiles are destroying our lives.

Cities were so much cleaner before the development of the horseless carriage.


34 posted on 06/02/2014 8:00:18 AM PDT by Bratch
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To: NYer

I'm oooooold! And I'm not happy! And I don't like things now compared to the way they used to be. All this progress -- phooey! In my day, we didn't have these cash machines that would give you money when you needed it. There was only one bank in each state -- it was open only one hour a year. And you'd get in line, seventeen miles long, and the line became an angry mob of people -- fornicators and thieves, mutant children and circus freaks -- and you waited for years and by the time you got to the teller, you were senile and arthritic and you couldn't remember your own name. You were born, got in line, and ya died! And that's the way it was and we liked it!

Life was simpler then. There wasn't all this concern about hy-giene! It my days, we didn't have Kleenex. When you turned seventeen, you were given the family handkerchief. ... It hadn't been washed in generations and it stood on its own ... filled with diseases and swarmin' with flies. ... If you tried to blow your nose, you'd get an infection and your head would swell up and turn green and children would burst into tears at the sight o' ya! And that's the way it was and we liked it!

Life was a carnival! We entertained ourselves! We didn't need moooovin' pitchurrrres. In my day, there was only one show in town -- it was called "Stare at the sun!" ... That's right! You'd sit in the middle of an open field and stare up at the sun till your eyeballs burst into flames! And you thought, "Oh, no! Maybe I shouldn't've stared directly into the burning sun with my eyes wide open." But it was too late! Your head was on fire and people were roastin' chickens over it. ... And that's the way it was and we liked it!

Progress?! Flobble-de-flee! In my day, when we were angry and frustrated, we just said, "Flobble-de-flee!" 'cause we were idiots and we didn't know what else to say! Just a bunch o' illiterate Cro-Magnons, blowin' on crusty handkerchiefs, waitin' in lines for our head to burst into flame and that's the way it was and we liked it!

35 posted on 06/02/2014 8:04:25 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: NYer
One of THE best articles written on the subject.

One of my biggest complaints for a long time. Various forms of media has caused us to become so completely dissociated as human beings, and addicted to "objects" that control us. Like a powerful tool, they should only be used for a specific purpose, and prudently.

Genuine, quality human interaction amongst friends and family has become such a rarity these days. Instead Facebook has taken over as the surrogate, because it's "more convenient." How very sad, and tragic. Humans were not meant to operate by "remote control" or electronically, but sadly, that is what has happened. The technology has been abused horribly.

BTW....nice to "see" everyone here again. One of the reasons why I curtail my "media"...too much of a good thing. Many of God's blessings to all on this Holy Pentecost Sunday.

36 posted on 06/08/2014 12:11:05 PM PDT by kstewskis ("Tolerance is what happens when one loses their principles"..... Fr. A. Saenz)
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