Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided
missiles and misguided men.
— Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
Mr. King wrote this in 1963. What would he say now? Today we can communicate faster and farther and cheaper than anytime past, but what do we have to say? We have concentrated more on methods than message. Anyone can have a blog, but how many blogs, mine included, are more about individual gripes and whines than really having something worth listening to. What would Martin Luther King Jr. say on a blog?
It\’s an age old question. Style over substance, method over message, etc. Then again, when you concentrate on the message, you get accused of preaching, that what you\’re communicating is only a sermon thinly disgused.
I\’m reading Natalie Goldberg\’s Thunder and Lightening. Re-reading, because it\’s one of the few books that was on top of a box. But she talks in it about how the need the write comes from the desire to be heard. It takes seed in childhoods where children are seen and not heard. It\’s the urge to talk to Mom, Dad, teachers, etc and be heard. Rarely, she said, do people say they write because they need to be heard by grandparents. Somehow, they always have time to listen. But I can see where a lifetime of being shushed could lead to a desire to write. And I think the proliferation of blogs, especially by the younger, twenty-somethings and teens, is an outgrowth of the business of the adults in their lives. No one is around to listen to their stories, so they post them on line, and others might or might not read about the boy in physical science and the horrible wilted salad they served for lunch in the cafeteria, or how worried they are about the new zit on the end of the nose. Comments, props, etc, become so important, they are signs that someone out there is listening. And even if the reader doesn\’t agree, there is at least the illusion of being heard.
That\’s all it is, the illusion of being heard. You know someone visited the site, but you don\’t know if the reader really read, or was watching the latest movie trailer at the same time. In the desire to be heard, I think most of us are too busy with self, etc, to hear like we want to be heard. So we are compounding the problem. And the blogosphere grows…
There was another quote that came with Mr. King\’s. Seemed like a good final thought.
Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an
emergency. Nothing is that important.
— Natalie Goldberg, O Magazine, October 2002