There is a lot of discussion about the bad effects of continuous, intensive, immersive social media usage (i.e. what is now normal everyday life for the majority of young and middling adult Western people); but what worries me much more, is the personal motivational state of which this usage is evidence.
It is the simple and obvious fact that the majority of people actively-want to spend most of their lives interacting with the mass and social media; on average, they want this - by evidence of how they behave - more than they want anything else.
(This is very often the case with addiction - people get addicted because they want to become addicted: they work at it.)
And what this tells me is equally simple: that the majority of modern Western people actively reject Heaven, and positively desire Hell - because the materialistic-subjective-passive milieu of mass and social media is itself a segment of Hell (i.e. that state which follows the rejection of salvation).
I'm not saying that the media saturation 'makes people' desire Hell; but something much worse: that the way that people have embraced the mass/ social media and made them the centre of their lives reveals that people want Hell, and that is exactly why people have embraced mass/ social media.
A revealed-preference to live by continuous mass/ social media is therefore a revealed-preference for Hell. Then, the media saturation will amplify and consolidate this preference. But the preference came first.
I am not saying 'this will happen unless'... on the contrary, I am describing what has already happened, and is happening; and what it actually means. And I am emphasising that the problem is much deeper than generally recognised - because when mass/ social media are being consumed immersively as a means to the end of Hell - then what Christians regard as media's ill effects are a desired feature, not an inconvenient bug.
The spiritually-malign effects of saturation-media are exactly why people saturate themselves in media; and why they do this purposively, obsessively - and why they react with such fear and anger when their continued immersive media usage is threatened.
The implication is that even if mass/ social media were savagely curtailed - or altogether removed; it would have much less beneficial effects than if the media had been the root of the problem.
The primary problem is at a very deep level in the souls, and in the fundamental life choices, of very large numbers of Western people.
I regard this life as a kind of taste of Heaven. Even, and especially, in the necessity for confronting evil. It has been my conviction for some time that most people do not want Heaven, they do want Hell, despite all the ways that God has worked to make the good things instinctively feel good. The various artificial ways of tricking our instincts exposes the deep division between what motivates us and what motivates God.
People still seem to feel it's better to be embodied than not, but it seems more likely that it's simply fear of death rather than love of life that motivates this.
Though, from what I can tell, this is a good thing, overall. I mean coming to terms with rejection, learning to value, all the more, the good and those individuals who have chosen it.
Like you point out, things are coming to a point. It's probably too late for people who don't even see that. But it's not like it's easy for people who do see it. The opting-in is not just a matter of seeing. It's very hard to see the common acceptance of deep depravity and rejection of true love, then not feel a little shaken in desire to fully participate in God's work. So I think it's necessary that we allow God's perfecting touch to heal even our motivations and desires. Or rather to trust that eventually our ability to love will be sufficient for the task.
"Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n," Milton has his lost Arch-Angel say.
We each reign in our own bubble/kingdoms exchanging memes, putting up Potemkin a-social media facades or immersing ourselves in private "paradises" (complete with 72 porn-virgins).
Acid guru Ram Dass advised, "Remember, be here now." But his generation had no more desire to "be here now" than ours does. They did it with dope. We have added "devices" to the arsenal of here/now-evasion tools.
Anything. Just give us a transcendence pill or gizmo. "Beam me up, Scotty!" Or down.
But it is by striving to be holy and dealing in humility with the here-and-now that we are made fit for eternity, which is to say, by the cross.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
– John 14:6
People are more likely seeking escape from reality.
Heaven is real.
But so is Hell.
The difference is that Heaven must be embraced, Hell is available by default for those who do not choose some other real possibility.
"wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat"
And all of those people are poking at their phones as they wander down that broad path to destruction...
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