[written November 17, 2011]
Technology, while providing us with a vast amount of information, has desensitized us. It feeds our minds while starving our hearts. At our fingertips is the ability to attain knowledge on any subject or person like never before. Within seconds, we can read the equivalent of a person’s autobiography, in which we learn his origins, his interests, his beliefs, and what he did last weekend. But knowledge is no substitute for heart.
Proverbs 3:5, an over-quoted verse, roots itself in the fact that the mind is not superior to the heart — it is man’s nature to put mind before heart (i.e., “lean on his own understanding”). The two are not mutually exclusive (i.e., for one to be present, the other is not required to be absent), but rather work hand-in-hand. However, man has lost sight of this and reverted to his original, egocentric nature of elevating the mind to a pedestal which crushes the heart beneath its feet.
This is not to say we are smarter now than we were in days past — I believe the opposite is actually true — it is just to say that our minds are prioritized at the feeding trough. And since we have lost the ability to use logic and reason, we have yet to discover that the trough is laden with filth and toxins — we are poisoning our own minds.
As violence is glorified in film and video games, we gain a higher tolerance for it; it is no longer shocking to us when an innocent man is shot (afterall, we see it all the time on our screens). As bullying, teasing, and insults are made into comedy, we lose our empathy for others; we laugh at the misfortune of others because we have been told that it is funny. Our morals are gone, our hearts are cold, and our minds have labeled the concept of “walking in someone else’s shoes” as foolish, foreign, and outdated. Let’s face it: we’re selfish.
What will it take to convince us to wage war on the apathy that has overtaken us like an uncontrollable, life-quenching vine? When will we wake up to the cries and screams of those who still have the ability to feel — those incessant “noises” we’ve drowned out for decades?
We, collectively, are labeled as “humanity.” But the moment we stopped caring whether another person was hurting, needing, or breathing was the moment we lost our humanity. I’m not sure what is more grim: that statement itself, or the fact that so many people would look at it, ingest it with their eyes, let it stop at their minds, swallow without chewing, and respond with a chuckle and an eye roll before even allowing their hearts a taste of it, confounding any hope for a proper digestion.
If we want to regain our humanity, it will require the one thing we have the greatest deficit of: heart. But, like the Tinman, perhaps we had it all along, we just refused to see it or let it be.