Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Medium and the Message

God has given His message to us in written words. We comprehend written words through linear thought. Since before the printing press, societies have primarily used and then thoroughly developed linear thinking skills. With the medium of written word, people are conditioned to think in sequences, as one letter and one word follows another on the printed page. Changes in the medium of the message to pictures or music by means of television, movies, computer programs, powerpoint, slides, etc. affects the attention spans, perceptions, and world view of the audience by requiring a switch from linear thinking to mosaic thinking, thus altering thought patterns. Since the Bible is comprehended through linear thought, the change in thinking affects the understanding of God's Word.

Many changes have occurred in thinking due to technological advances in the world. People receive information in many different ways, but less and less through the printed word. Primarily for this reason, but in addition to a few others (less parental discipline, etc.), new learning disorders have arisen never seen before. Certain subjects must be learned by linear thought, but a child raised while watching television every day will have become accustomed to acquiring knowledge in a different manner. Many of these children are struggling with learning some of the basic school subjects. Oftentimes, they are labeled with some disorder that relates less to an organic problem as it does one received by means of the media by which they have received their information.

This problem becomes even more serious for someone spiritually. People who grow up saturated by different media than the printed word often become indifferent to the Bible. The Bible isn't discerned solely intellectually; however, it does require a certain cognitive skill to apprehend its truths. When someone cannot comprehend sufficiently linear thought to process the Gospel truths, he has greatly harmed his opportunity to receive Christ. Even the one who has enough linear ability to understand the tenets of conversion and is born again might struggle in sanctification because of his addiction to another type of thinking.

I believe this is part of Satan's conspiracy toward total apostacy in the age in which we live. It fulfills the Pauline warning of men increasingly becoming lovers of their own selves and of pleasures as we get closer to the end. Picture thinking is easier for men. We might call it eye candy, something that distracts and conveniently holds attention, the media equivalent of ice cream or milk chocolate. The communication itself falls under the categories of lust of the flesh and lust of eyes. Desiring what is comfortable, requiring less sacrifice, is characteristic of a love for self and pleasure. Men would rather engage with forms of media that are relatively effortless to watch and amusing to hear, therefore they are extremely seductive. People not only cannot reach the necessary intellectual depth to understand the Bible, but they do not even care to read it in the first place.

I want to elaborate on this subject in my next few posts. Should I say, "Stay tuned"?


Jerry Bouey said...

Food for thought. We train ourselves and our children to focus on the media all around them - then wonder why they can't sit still when something isn't flashy or entertaining. It must be some kind of complex or disorder that we can treat with drugs or psychology - rather than teaching them self-discipline. (Thinking like the world here...)

Sure, I have ADD (by various people's definitions) - but I can choose how I will cope with it. I can either refuse all self-discipline and be unruly, OR I can learn how to adapt to it. Okay, so I have a hard time reading a whole book (or long article/email) straight through - who said I only needed to read one? I have bookmarks in many books at the same time. The only problem comes in when I don't go back to that original book for quite a while; then I would forget what was in it (in the sense of not remembering the current train of thought where my bookmark is - I would still remember the general content/theme). But as long as I keep it handy and pick it up regularly, I can remember what I read.
- Excerpt from The Life and Times of Jerry... ;)

Anonymous said...

"The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance."

One might sit and listen for hours only to retain less than 1%; to read the written word one would retain about 25%. The difference? Old fashioned concentration.
It was good 400 years ago and it still works today....the secret?
One must apply themselves.


Nicholas Cardot said...

You said, "I believe this is part of Satan's conspiracy toward total apostacy in the age in which we live." I think you hit it right on the head. Our adversary is smarter than most of us give him credit for. We need to be making a strong, conscous effort to combat him. We must apply ourselves.