The Guardian newspaper ran a story about the rampant boredom people feel in our age. /1 We’ve changed as a result of technology and it isn’t for the better.
With the internet, games and smartphones at our fingertips, one would think boredom would be obsolete. Earlier generations would be mystified at being bored while on something as grand as the internet.
It’s certainly inconceivable to many of us who have books to fill our time. Bookworms are never bored.
The writer of the article says we’re “overstimulated” and “Our attention spans are now thought to be less than that of a goldfish – eight seconds.”
“The more entertained we are the more entertainment we need in order to feel satisfied. The more we fill our world with fast-moving, high-intensity, ever-changing stimulation, the more we get used to that and the less tolerant we become of lower levels.”
In other words, what we value above all ends up, in a sense, devaluing our existence. Yet, the changes are so incremental that we usually don’t notice them and the young are raised without anything to compare it to.
Children were once content with imagination and a stick while today they’re seemingly never satisfied with anything.
“We are hard-wired to seek novelty, which produces a hit of dopamine, that feel-good chemical, in our brains. As soon as a new stimulus is noticed, however, it is no longer new, and after a while it bores us. To get that same pleasurable dopamine hit we seek fresh sources of distraction.”
We easily see the problems this presents spiritually. The Word of God was “settled” before time began (Psalm 119:89) and Jesus is unchanging regardless of time (Hebrews 13:8).
Accordingly, people disdain scriptural worship or the Bible because they’re perpetually in pursuit of sensory stimulation and the spiritual can pale because it doesn’t offer the same high as technology.
Like a drug, we must continue to escalate to attain the same level of pleasure. When virtual reality is perfected, the spiritual will suffer even more.
When we plug into the spiritual, however, we see the world differently (Romans 12:1-2). Our values, perspectives and interests shift and the temporal loses its value. Transcendent things take precedence and we become visitors on earth (Philippians 3:20).
We realize that all spiritual blessings are found in Christ (Ephesians 1:3) but that is, in a sense, stationary. It’s unchanging nature allows Satan to tempt us to call it “boring” and “old-fashioned.”
Satan pushes humanity to utopian enlightenment without God and it’s a colossal lie (John 8:44).
It requires much effort to rise above the distractions around us and to train ourselves to maintain greater focus on what matters. God will never cater to our whims.
We should use the high speed electronic world but we must never allow it to obscure the spiritual or the ways of God will no longer matter. It’s where people are and we can use it for the glory of the Lord. But we must never lose our way in the process.