In 1970 Alvin and Heidi Toffler wrote a best seller called Future Shock. I had an English teacher who made it required reading when I was in high school.
The premise of the book has stayed with me, which is that as the society and technology around us changes rapidly (too much change in too short of time), it can leave people with a sense of profound shock.
This can happen to individuals or even to whole societies. The Tofflers called it “information overload.”
They predicted the results would be that as society experiences an increasing number of changes with increasing rapidity, people lose the familiarity that religion, family, national identity and a lifetime profession once provided.
There is evidence of this in our current society almost 50 years down the road from the Toffler’s book.
Many things are disposable in a short period of time. Computers, cell phones and televisions have a next generation appear before the end of the useful lifecycle of the current generation.
Relationships are becoming disposable.
Because whole branches of industry die off and new ones appear, unskilled workers often have to move to new locations to find new jobs. This can even happen with highly educated people who find they have to change professions when the one they prepared themselves for becomes obsolete.
Because jobs are lost, people are forced to change their residence, school, friends, car and driver’s license and they lose close contact with family that may have been in the same place for generations. Think about it: how many people do you know who live in the same state they were born in? When I was a child, grandparents were right down the road.
Religion is no longer viewed as a window to an afterlife, but looked on by many with disdain and distrust. Without it where do we get a moral compass? Every man now decides for himself what is right and wrong.
From Industry Tap: “Buckminster Fuller created the ‘Knowledge Doubling Curve,’ he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple, as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM , the build-out of the ‘Internet of things’ will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours” (source ).
As our world changes rapidly and everything is spinning out of control, how do we keep our senses firmly fixed? As we struggle to maintain relationships with far-flung family and friends, or to keep pace with the knowledge needed to stay relevant in our jobs, we may find ourselves turning to available media. Unfortunately, there is much more to encounter on the Internet than a friendly hello to our loved ones. We often get drawn into things we would never encounter apart from it.
From Psychology Today: “ The Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) of the brain monitors social needs by releases of dopamine when we achieve social success and inspiring neurochemical deficits when we don’t. Tragically, social media is not the VTA’s friend.
“The physiological cues that the VTA uses to determine social status from negative social media experiences are the same as those occurring in our ancestor’s brains when the tribe banished them.
“But the VTA cannot think; it only reads signals and reacts. That’s why people waste hours online arguing about things they have no control over.
“Cowards are brave on social media, which is why Internet Trolls exist, and do and say things that would never say in a face-to-face encounter. Additionally, we perceive such social media confrontations as a threat. […]
Yes, humans are in trouble, and we need to fix it, but how? Well, society occurs whenever two or more humans interact, so start there—in traffic, in the break room at work, the supermarket line or on social media; Embrace empathy , and commit random acts of kindness. Time is the most precious human resource, so don’t squander time holding on to resentments or judging others, attaching yourself to outcomes. And certainly, don’t waste it on Twitter wars or Facebook feuds.”
Social media, if we allow it, can become the largest thief of our time.
The apostle Paul wrote critically relevant advice in a letter to the Ephesian church:
“Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:14 Ephesians 5:14Why he said, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.
American King James Version×).
How often are we speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our heart to the Lord?
Elsewhere he wrote, “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:2 Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
American King James Version×).
Our media team and ministry still ask the same thing—that we pray that God would open the door that the word of truth about Christ can be clear.
Turn off social media before you spend hours on it. Allow time for your brain to detox.
Connect physically as often as possible with family and friends, (and ask that they stay away from cell phones and games)
Open your Bible and redeem the time by not spending hour upon hour caught up in meaningless arguments about our current political situation, differences about religion or who has the best sports team. Realize the chances you are going to reach someone to change their mind in this manner are slim and none. Remember the VTA does not think, it only reacts.
Spend quiet moments in prayer and meditation. Get your thoughts back to what is most important.
And begin to know God, our anchor in this fast-paced shifting world.