Dr. Feelgood: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love our solipsistic age.
Do you have a cell phone? Is it in your pocket? Are you reading this on it? Do I have your attention?
Our phones are windows. They are windows of the soul; the dark soul. Shows like Black Mirror, movies like Cell, all herald the day when cell phones reveal our darker sides and take over an otherwise good universe. However, maybe they are exposing the far reaches of our darkness. Our reaching posture has been for pleasure, just not pure pleasure. Pleasure that brings us pain, degradation, and loss is , in our hearts and minds, more pleasurable than goodness itself. I argue this has to do with the Fall of Mankind in the sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. They chose the loss of connection, meaning, goodness, and ultimately holiness to be pleasure seekers for themselves, rather than the pleasure of the One who created them.
What does this have to do with technology? I could go on about how the Apple entity is an expression of the Beast in Revelation, or how we will soon be implanted on a large scale with our phones in our eyes and number pads in our palms, and this will be an omen of the coming apocalypse (which one? I forget). But this would (I hope) fall on deaf ears. It’s a silly way to read the Bible and our current culture temperature, and think our selves as the most important time in history.
Our phones, for example, are merely an expression of our desired ends. Our real desired ends( in the fallen world we find ourselves feeling as though we are thrown into) are for destruction, false goods, and empty pleasures.
We need a new Operating System, as it were. Jamie Smith explains our habits of the phone have shaped our hearts to be solipsistic more so than any other culture that has existed. He does so by astutely analyzing a beer commercial (This is the whole video, somewhere around the 13 minute mark he describes the commercial, the commercial is different than the one he described but the same principle… there is one with Lance Armstrong as well that shows him doing the same motions with his phone!).
Were we made to be entertained? Were we made to be centers of individual universes?
No. We were made to be light in the darkness, and express in real, tangible, and embodied ways an invisible kingdom. We were made to point to the center of the universe, God, and to have our love attuned to His heart so that His change happens in our lives and those around us. What I hope the phone analogy shows us is just how self centered our culture is and how we worship this crystal ball that will tell us what we, individually, want to hear. Maybe we need to hear something else, something better. Because not being at the center of it all is the best thing that could happen to our hearts and our lives. Our desires are meant to be pointed toward a celestial city, made by God, not a city of glass made by man.