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July 26, 2021
Do We Ever Stop To Think?
I am fairly certain that if you are a parent, or ever have been a parent of a teenager, you have, on at least one occasion, told them to “stop and think it through”. The “it” can be anything, but the “it” requires more than a “simple glance” before taking action. What we want our teenagers to consider, are the long-term and short-term consequences of any decision and/or action. Every action has a reaction, a consequence that needs to be recognized and judged. As we introduce and encourage the concept of “stopping and thinking”, we more fully bring our children into responsible adulthood. Parents want their children to be safe, and we know they never can be safe until they recognize the importance of “stopping and thinking”. Speaking for myself, I need to do this much better than I have been. All too often I act (or react) on impulse and create some very unwanted consequences. I am not throwing stones at anybody.
It is my belief though, that our modern culture does not want us to stop and think, except possibly rhetorically, about anything. For centuries, civilizations depended upon some type of “newspaper” for most information of a public nature. While the news stories are always told through a particular bias, the articles written centuries ago were longer than the ten second soundbites we get today. With the overwhelming amount of information available today because of technology, there is just not enough time in our busy days to process all the information available. As such, we are challenged to filter out what we might consider the important or the unimportant information distilled from the overabundance. Still, as sketchy as it may be, I cannot imagine any other real solution to putting the deluge of information into some sort of useable construct. We are human, we are limited in our personal capacities, and constrained by the relentlessness of time. There is after all, only so much we can do. We can genuinely care about, fully empathize with the vast number of people caught up the “starvation politics” of corrupt governments, but, except for prayer and “donations” there is not a whole lot most of us can do.
What I find most disturbing, and even within myself at times, are those who never get any deeper that that very short soundbite or “headline”. Both headline and soundbite are emotional invitations to read more or listen more about a particular event. But, to read or listen more deeply requires time and full attention. For most people, the demands of work, family and life require us to “multi-task” most of our day. It requires a discipline to actually stop and think about what we are reading, watching, or listening to. Unfortunately, if, or when we rely solely on the soundbite or headline, designed to incite us emotionally, for the base of our opinions and attitudes, we become a manipulated people, not rational beings. It is so very important that before we make statements of accusations, “facts”, or declarations about people or events, we first stop and think it through.