It wouldn’t likely take much for me to convince you that social media has become a cultural mine field of bare-knuckle tribal street fighting and pseudo-intellectual posturing. A place so hostile that a humble, honestly logical opinion isn’t welcome – because invariably some partisan will come along posthaste to set you straight, armed with something freshly googled up to denounce your heresies. This is because in the age of information everybody knows everything – just ask them, they’ll tell you! Everyone’s a constitutional lawyer now! Everyone’s an epidemiologist, a climatologist, and a psychotherapist . . . because the next best thing to being an expert yourself, is knowing how to google up the experts who already agree with you.
Not only does this conspicuously lack intellectual honesty – it’s perversely reductive. Such a mindless parroting of information, as if we were merely disembodied avatars of tribal ideals – will only ever be able to foster a shallow and disingenuous discourse. How could it not? This is the tipping point of banality and superficiality, an entire culture feigning erudition and intellectual refinement as if they were nothing more than fashion accessories – while we’re all being herded into our contrived intersectional identities, until fear, anger and resentment consumes all.
And given the ubiquity of information, spreading out like buffet of data – it isn’t so much about the validity of each individual factoid, but it’s in how the narrative is assembled. A narrative that invariably seeks to semantically redefine language, so that the prevailing cultural agenda can be insinuated as self-evident. This is precisely how summary judgements of differing opinions, without even the least bit of honest examination, can be blithely made – because it’s about the group-think talking points . . . and not actually about the content of the ideas. This is because the underpinnings of ideas are seldom internalized as a coherent whole . . . instead we choose to rely on the shallow sentimentality of sound bites and memes to speak our truth.
Undoubtedly, critical thinking is conspicuously absent in the circular logic at work in this type of confirmation bias that now inhabits much of popular discourse – but this, for me, would only be a rhetorical critique. What is far more evident to me is the hollow expectation of the individual to disappear into the drift and sway of faddish cultural shifts – having absolutely nothing to ground them, whatsoever. For where there is no transcendent anchor to hold us fast, no overarching meditation to captivate our hearts and minds – all that remains is the transient vacuity of our own self-involved opinions.
Therefore, the fully formed person isn’t preoccupied with masquerading as a pseudo-expert in the world of Google make-believe – the fully formed person makes their meditation in the humble desire to “know him and the power of his resurrection, and share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” ~ Philippians 3:10. So that they may say “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”~ Psalm 19:14. In this way, the confessions of our faith are in contrast to the vain posturing of those pretending they know everything . . . as our meditations lead us to one humble confession “Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
. . . so let us walk a more humble path.