Sunday, May 23, 2021
Sunday Reflection: Earthy humanity
One effect of the pandemic-- perhaps one of the most serious ones in the long term-- is that it accelerated our dependence on machines and lessened our dependence on one another. I don't think this is good, and not just because of the whole "Skynet" issue.
We are meant to be social creatures. We aren't the kinds of animals who need to stay away from one another to maintain adequate hunting area. The reason that we became the dominant species is not because we are the most profligate or the most dangerous or the largest or smallest. It is because of intelligence, and the fact that we form societies and act in concert. Both of those things-- the uniquely human nature of our intelligence and the societies we have formed in living with one another-- risk being profoundly corrupted by our increasing merger of ourselves with machines and social distance from one another.
And yes, I realize this was one of the primary themes of the Unabomber's manifesto.
Still, we need to pay attention to the rapidity of these changes. And the most profoundly changed may be in our spiritual lives. For many people, it seems that digital church was pretty much a one-way ticket to disassociation with a spiritual life, a stepping stone to worshipping alone (or not at all).
I hope that I am wrong, and that we will snap back to where we were. We won't know that for a few years, of course. But the unintended consequences of how we dealt with this pandemic may prove to be much greater than we imagined.