Delocation by News
Here's one the biggest problems I've seen in various conservative circles (and the start of a solution) ...
We’ve not only allowed news, which is largely propaganda, to distract or demoralize us.
We’ve allowed it to de-place and de-locate us.
We’ve allowed the “space” in which we dwell to become irrelevant.
Neil Postman traces this back to the telegraph.
“For telegraphy did something that Morse did not foresee when he prophesied that telegraphy would make “one neighborhood of the whole country.” It destroyed the prevailing definition of information, and in doing so gave a new meaning to public discourse. Among the few who understood this consequence was Henry David Thoreau,”who remarked in Walden that “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.... We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the old world some weeks nearer to the new; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.”
Postman argues that telegraph redefined discourse in that it introduced “large scale irrelevance, impotence, and incoherence..”
“These demons of discourse were aroused by the fact that telegraphy gave a form of legitimacy to the idea of context-free information; that is, to the idea that the value of information need not be tied to any function it might serve in social and political decision-making and action, but may attach merely to its novelty, interest, and curiosity.”
“Within months of Morse’s first public demonstration, the local and the timeless had lost their central position in newspapers, eclipsed by the dazzle of distance and speed. In fact, the first known use of the telegraph by a newspaper occurred one day after Morse gave his historic demonstration of telegraphy’s workability. Using the “same Washington-to-Baltimore line Morse had constructed, the Baltimore Patriot gave its readers information about action taken by the House of Representatives on the Oregon issue. The paper concluded its report by noting: ‘… we are thus enabled to give our readers information from Washington up to two o’clock. This is indeed the annihilation of space.’”
Our thoughts are everywhere but nowhere in particular.
Our knowledge is abundant but irrelevant to our day-to-day existence.
In place of action, there is instead an unending awareness campaign where, whether in-person or online, we share news that is practically pointless.
Space—and place with it—has been annihilated.
Postman observed that “most of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action.”
One good filter or rule of thumb for news is to ask: “Does this information require or demand that I take some action today, this month, or this year?”
If the answer is no, ignore it. Invest your “mental energy” elsewhere.
If the answer is yes, then prioritize the action according to the immediacy of the need. Spend your “mental energy” wisely.
Your “attention” is a precious and limited resource. Invest it primarily on the place God put you. This is the basic premise of biblical localism.