Sunday, March 05, 2017

Lo and Behold

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This weekend is Docfest in Belleville, which means some Bridge St. UC members will be playing hooky from worship to take in the morning film. I will try and summon grace and forgiveness, although I can't speak for God.

Yesterday we watched the remarkable "think piece" documentary Lo and Behold, a mind-boggling study of and reflection upon the internet by Werner Herzog. We were reminded that the first internet message was sent between two computers in 1969 and only the first two letters of the word LOG were sent before one of the computers crashed. Hence the play on words for the title Lo and Behold.

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The argument is made, convincingly, that the transmission of these two letters has already resulted in an impact on human history equalling of exceeding the sighting of land by the crew of Christopher Columbus' ship.

There are ten sections to the film, offered in Roman numerals, as though these were biblical commandments. They are really a series of reflections as aspects of the internet.  What we come to realize is that while the internet has changed who we are as humans, and given us the ability to communicate information with lightning speed, it has not given us wisdom or morality.

One interviewee suggests we will need to develop a new theology for the internet age. A parent who has lost a child is convinced that the internet is evil, given the cruelty of people after her daughter's death. One of the  inventors of the internet comments that it does not encourage imaginative and creative thinking. I would add that it has no morality, not necessarily as immoral, although plenty of immoral garbage is conveyed via the internet, but definitely amoral.

Today our scripture readings for the first Sunday of Lent  include the powerful myth of the Garden of Eden in Genesis, where Adam and Eve lose their way, morally. The gospel passage is, as always for Lent 1, Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Hmm.


1 comment:

roger said...

I think back to my school days, and being bullied when I was about 9 years old by a couple of 13 year olds. It was relentless and caused me much anguish. However, I knew that I had a reprieve from the torment on weekends, and any time I was not at school.

The internet has amplified bullying infinitely, and the pain experienced by victims is unfathomable. The bullying is 24/7 and can spread to thousands who may join in. Being a teen or pre-teen is tough on the best of days, but add this cyberbullying to the mix, and it is simply too much.

Of course, the internet is a wonderful source of information and communication, but it can be hard to see the good when you see so much bad. I only have to speak to colleagues who work in the child exploitation units in police services, who have to deal with unspeakable evil every day.