This has been on my mind since the 2012 election and again crosses it every time I hear about or witness firsthand two people have a difference in opinion. I’m always surprised that it comes as such a surprise to the people in conflict that they are indeed in conflict. It should come as no surprise that other’s opinion does not match your own. Even on issues that are essential to your way of life there will be those that fundamentally disagree with you. It’s even a possibility that you desire the same outcome but the method in which you will get there is drastically different.
Take a minute to think on this:
- We control our news. I don’t enjoy watching the news so I read my news instead. I read the articles I want to read when I want to read them on the new’s websites of my choosing. CNN does me a great favor by giving me the headlines on their homepage and I can click and chose the articles I deem read-worthy.
- We control who we talk to. Never before have I been more accessible than I am in 2013. You can email me, facebook me, tweet me or…the good old-fashioned “call me”. Bat signal has been known to work before, but not this time of year. As accessible as I, and everyone else is, that accessibility is counteracted with inaccessibility in that I can chose when I answer correspondence and who I correspond with.
- We control our social circles. I think facebook is a telling example of the mentality of our social relationships. I’ve seen it happen quite a few times – two “friends” have a disagreement of policy, politics or social convictions. Before you know it one “friend” is defriending (in facebook and possibly real life) the other “friend”. Are we so quick to run from friendships that don’t simply sign off on our agendas? More than likely you spend time with people that have the same hobbies, have the same religious belief, have the same (or close) political views, look, act and behave (for the most part) just like you. In reality, you just like spending time with yourself…
- We control our entertainment. Not only are we able to choose the shows and movies we watch but with the use of a DVR we are able to choose when we watch moves and shows as well.
For the first time in history we can control almost every area of intake in our lives. Due to technology we can filter almost everything, without even thinking about it. We live customized lives, with customized information and customized relationships. Everything has been created for our comfort and to catered our needs. I could complete the rest of my adult life only hearing information and being in relationships that are comfortable for me.
I will not lament the loss of the “days of old”, how we had 4 channels and no remote control. Do you remember before caller ID and you never knew who was calling? I really like the convenience of the things mentioned above but I also have to highlight the danger of them as well. It use to be we dealt with the information as it comes, we watched what was on TV, we spoke to whoever was calling. Now we can first filter, then decide if we will engage or not.
Myopia is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in to the eye does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it. This causes the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus but in focus when looking at a close object. (thanks Wikipedia) A person with myopia can see things that are close with no problem but has difficulty seeing things that are far away.
Americans call it nearsightedness. Brits call it shortsightedness.
I’m come under the conviction lately that myopia isn’t just an eye condition it’s a place we’re tempted to live. (tweet that) On a map it’s near Utopia, a fictional place of near perfection. The difference is that we don’t actually believe Utopia exists but Myopia is very much a reality if we allow it to be.
Now more than ever this is a condition we need to consider.
The Dangers of Life Myopia:
- We start believing that everyone else thinks or should think like us and if they don’t they are wrong and should be punished or disregarded.
- We start believing we are the most important person in the world and that our lives and goals matter more than anyone else’s.
- We fail to consider the validity of another’s opinions and emotions.
- We live in ignorance never seeking to expose ourselves much less understand opinions contrary to our own.
- If you are a believer, you begin to set a series of “pre-salvation” hurdles that must be cleared before a relationship with Christ can begin.
This is not a “can’t we all just get along” post. Personal convictions are important. Having a strong stance on hot button issues is not a bad thing. Being firm in your beliefs and being willing to act on them is a great human value that I encourage. I simply want to remind myself of the dangers of my personal myopia perhaps you can benefit from that reminder as well.