In chapter 7 of The Next Story Tim addresses the idea of "more is better" in regards to information and argues that "[amid] all of our information, we have little time for wisdom" (pg 139). The question is - what is wisdom?
My church is currently going through a bible study on the book of Proverbs in our small groups and a couple weeks ago we defined wisdom as "rightly applying the truths of God to our lives," in other words, wisdom is walking out what we know is true. Wisdom in action is James 2:17 personified. But how do we gain wisdom? Our starting point as Christians must be God.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10)
But what of the world? What of the technologies and trends permeating our culture? Is there a desire for wisdom or merely for the collection of data, of the sorting of that data into information? Tim notes a trend present, that we hear little of the application of our information that's been gathered, rather it seems that the goal is often simply to have this information. With tools like Wikipedia and Google one can know a bit about a ton of things. We fill our minds with information that we'll never need on a daily basis to the point where we have difficulty remembering the important things - like where I left my keys this morning.
Our information age encourages us to become information gluttons, and because we've embraced this pace, these distractions, this partial focus on multiple things we've begun to feel as though we have some sort of disorder. And maybe we do!
At the beginning of the chapter Tim referes to Dr. Edward Hallowell who has termed an ADHD-like disorder, ADT - attention deficit trait. The difference between ADHD and ADT? ADT is a self-imposed disorder. Tim says, "I don't anticipate that attention deficit trait will ever be recognized as an official disorder, and I'm sure it is better this way," (pg 139) however with the way our society likes to label and medicate everything it wouldn't surprise me if we start seeing kids being diagnosed and medicated in the coming years.
Regardless of whether or not ADT becomes a common place diagnosis like ADHD, we as Christians ought to fight against it. If we're supposed to "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5) how can we rightly expect to do that if we're gorging ourselves on information we don't need and isn't helping us to think deeply about God?
Tim offers some practical advice; unsubscribe from blogs that do not encourage you to think deeply, unfriend or hide posts from people on Facebook that you find distracting or tempt you to remain unfocused in your pursuit of wisdom, consider mechanically working through some issues rather than using the technology in front of you to do it, and finally:
And seek to move that information to knowledge and to wisdom. Make every bit of information you access count.(pg 156)
Other interesting quotes
We have our passports filled with little stamps telling everyone just how many places we've been, but we don't stop to ask what the purpose is of traveling the nations if we have not actually experienced them. (pg 148)
We have hundreds of people flitting around on the edges of our lives, but perhaps fewer than ever with whom we are intimately involved. (pg 148)
This leads us to care more about accessing information that will make our lives immediately easier, that will fix our little problems, than to carefully and thoughtfully consider the morality of what we do with that information. (pg 149)
My Previous Posts on The Next Story
Chapter 6 - Rabbit Trail