‘Simplify Informania’

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

Henry David Thoreau was a 19th Century American essayist, poet and philosopher.  He’s famous for his ‘tiny house’—a 10-by-15-foot cabin.  He lived there for two years beginning in 1845, spending time reading, writing, thinking, growing his own food and making a few friends to neighbors nearby.  He removed extraneous stuff so that his mind could grow.  “Our life is frittered away by detail,” he wrote.  “Simplify!  Simplify!” (Life is Good, Jacobs, P.71)

This has me thinking “What in my life needs to ‘simplify’?  I would go ‘stir crazy’ if I lived in a 10-by-15-foot cabin, how about you?  However, I could use some simplifying.  I spend way too much time looking at my phone…and the problem is I miss everything else around me for viewing.  I spend way too much time on TV stressing out over the Atlanta Braves bullpen…and the problem is I become grumpy and frustrated.  I spend way too much time on social media crossing unnecessary bridges of worry…most of those worries never materialize.

It was Thoreau who said, “We are becoming the tools of our tools.”  He said this long before technology was even a word.  Don’t misunderstand, I am grateful for our technological age.  It makes so much so convenient.  However, when I see us sitting around in waiting rooms, offices, and even our family rooms with our heads down completely focused in our own world of smart phones, iPads or some other technology, I’m concerned our technology is becoming our unintentional consequence of disconnection.

As the world around us grows increasingly complex, we crave simplicity more than ever. There is a fine line in modern life between connectivity and the pitfalls of informania.

Thoreau went on to say, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” (P. 71)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus. (John 10:10, NRSV)

Always Thinking…

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