Would Jesus be on Facebook?
I was thinking the other day about how wretched my family’s lives have been because we’ve never had a video camera and lack that extra electronic confirmation of time’s existence. We’ve been unable to relive ill-lit examples of extreme foolishness and embarassment on the part of our constituent members. We’ve snapshots aplenty and computers on which to see them, but no actual movement, except the Ken Burns effect. We’re electronically deficient.
On the other hand I don’t know how to think that my life is somehow necessarily richer than that of a middle-aged woman in the wilds of New Guinea who has no electronic anything other than the electricity in her own cells. My experiences are different, but they may not be any better.
I mostly stare at a computer screen, now and then writing, mostly not. The New Guinean, I’ll call her Kimberlee, spends much of her time digging out and pounding and preparing for consumption the heart of the sago palm tree. Film I’ve seen of the process suggests that subtlety is wanting overall, but that’s the thing about subtlety—it’s not obvious. Kimberlee clearly has a different set of premises than anybody I know, and I’m in no position to assume that pounding the crap out of sago is less rewarding and conducive to enlightenment than publishing e-mail newsletters about the wonderfulness of business systems, which I’ve already admitted doing. Kimberlee and I have the same opportunity endlessly renewed, and that’s all any of us has.
What did I do with my time before I had my own computer, especially one I can take around with me? I don’t remember—probably read—but when I go away from home, maybe camping where I have to think about basics I can generally ignore at home in favor of cyberspace, I come back better than I was before, clearer and more mindful of the time I give all things computer-related. I want to pound some sago.
I once showed my son a photo from his toddlerhood and explained that in part I still think of him as a toddler, and he might as well accept it. Maybe I’d do better if I weren’t continually reminded of the little boy he hasn’t been in many years. I’ll change the screensaver.
Did Catherine the Great suffer for lack of Google? Would Frederick Douglass tweet? Would Abraham Lincoln have blogged about his depression? I think we can all agree that Cleopatra would definitely have been on Facebook, ditto Jesus. Moses seems like a Plaxo kind of guy. Mark Twain would blog but not tweet. The Buddha, just video on YouTube, probably with bad music. Confucius would tweet.