Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The mass media and eternal vigilance

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Total resistance to the modern mass media is impossible in The West - because the mass media is pervasive and omni-seductive.

So powerful, so all-encompassing, so alluring, so addictive that nobody who is compelled to remain within the modern situation ever could be sufficiently firm, conscientious, wholly unflagging and well-motivated.

Fighting the enticements of the modern mass media is a constant battle; and constant battle first makes us jaded, then desperate, finally leaves us exhausted - and when our resistance has thereby been broken-down, then the mass media will get us.

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Total resistance is impossible, but perpetual resistance is necessary - indeed resistance makes all the difference: all the difference between losing and keeping our soul.

Resistance to assimilation by the mass media, hence to the forces of darkness, requires unceasing vigilance, unresting alertness, unpunctuated strength of will... in other words it is impossible; therefore all this must be backed-up by continual repentance.

Only by refusing to give-up the resistance, despite the demoralisation of innumerable hourly failures, will we be able to have any significant freedom.

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However armoured you may be, you will have chinks of weakness - if not now, then at some time or another, sooner or later.

And the mass media is omni-potently set-up to penetrate all possible chinks of weakness.

And however tiny the initial penetration of your armour; the mass media has the capability (and purpose) to enlarge that breach; and like a parasitic wasp laying eggs inside a worm, where they may hatch and devour it utterly from within, so the mass media can enlarge and grow within you until it has consumed your soul - even starting from the smallest of beginnings.

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Is the situation then hopeless?

No - not for a Christian. For a Christian this is merely a quantitative amplification of normal life, life as it always has been.

But the situation does need continual vigilance, sustained attempts to restrict and minimize exposure, and an open-ended willingness to acknowledge and repent your own multitudinous failures to resist the mass media; and the renewing resolve - despite this - to try again, starting now.

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This capacity to perceive and acknowledge one's own faults, to take responsibility and repent, is surely near the core of the Christian life, and far, far more important than the strength of armour or will-power.

Christianity is not, ever, under any circumstances, only a matter of following rules with perfect obedience - and even if this were possible (and in the case of the modern mass media for most people most of the time it is not possible perfectly to follow the rules of righteousness) - then to follow the right rules for the wrong reasons or in the wrong (un-loving) spirit is utterly worthless.

Our recidivism, our endless failures, ought to makes us ever-more humble and grateful for the forgiveness consequent upon Christ's atonement.

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So long as we acknowledge and repent - and do not defend, nor justify, nor rationalize - our failures, either to ourselves or to others; the number and frequency of our inevitable failures is immaterial, and we will not be - we cannot be - corrupted by the mass media beyond prospect of rescue at the last.  

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