A few weeks ago, TIME magazine did a cover story on the American novelist, Jonathan Franzen. Here is a quote from Franzen that speaks to America today:
We are so distracted by and engulfed by the technologies we've created, and by the constant barrage of so-called information that comes our way, that more than ever to immerse yourself in an involving book seems socially useful. The place of stillness that you have to go to to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.
Franzen was inspired by the 19th century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. Ahead of his time, Kierkegaard wrote that the problem of perpetual busyness is that which locks an individual into continuous distraction.
We live in a society with all of its cell phones, Internet capabilities, MP3 players and the like that seeks to distract us. With that distraction, as TIME so ably summarizes it, people are empowered to “avoid difficult realities and maintain self-deceptions.”
I like Franzen’s idea of finding a place of stillness, in order to read, process, and think. Rather than making any book your partner in that endeavor, I would recommend placing our priority upon one: the Bible. With that time, that place, and that book, I think each day we can find an oasis in our cultural desert.
Could there be a more nourishing experience?