To survive, you must bend; you must adapt. We are all connected by plastic, copper, silicon, fiber, and radio waves carrying ones and zeros; and if you don’t log in, you will break. Are you juggling an exchange of bits over the cellular ether, an exchange of bits over Facebook chat, and an exchange of bits to prove that you’re doing your job at work? So am I. Join me in the increasing plasticity of life.

This is not what I signed up for, but I do remember seeing something in the Contract of Life that mentioned terms changing without notice. I guess it happened, and it happened so subtly that I didn’t notice. I’d like to get out of this contract, or at least revert it to its previous state; but the Lessor seems to have moved on. He says print is dead, Facebook is relating, and the iPad is so last year.

The byproduct of the coming digital integration will be a massive physical isolation. It’s already happening: all across the world, millions of people are sitting in front of a screen right now, digesting bits assembled into pictures, games, articles, love letters. Somewhere on the other end of hundreds of miles of plastic, copper, silicon, fiber, and radio waves, another human entered those bits into cyberspace while staring at another screen.

The progress of the digital age cannot be discounted, but we are only just beginning to see the accompanying regress. With speed comes exhaustion; with logins, aloneness; and with plasticity, loss of essential nature.

The human mind needs to be oxygenated just like any other organ, and even introverts need face-to-face love to survive the loneliness of digitization. As much as we must bend to keep up, let’s make holy a place where we can snap back to our most human shape; where we can find each other breathing the same air; where ones and zeroes cannot interfere; and where humanity is valued over plasticity.

Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment–to love one another–is the same message you heard before.

– 1 John 2:7

Love Doesn’t See Achievement

I’ve been studying some personality assessment instruments as I work through a deep edit of my novel, The Tower of Babel. In the process I’ve learned a lot about myself.

The Enneagram model seems to peg me as a Loyal Skeptic, which means I become a Performer (another personality type) under stress. One sentence is still ringing in my head from the paragraph on self-development for Performers:

Remember that love comes from being, not from doing.

Why am I constantly trying to recover my self-worth with my accomplishments? Is my faith in myself, and in God’s declaration that I am made in his image, that small?

Love=doing is an easy lie to swallow. If my girlfriend does my dishes, I’m obligated to do something in return, right? Wrong. She did my dishes out of love. Acts done out of love don’t go onto one side of a scale that needs balancing; they go into an infinite pool that doesn’t keep the books at all.

Stop requiring achievements, accomplishments and doings from other people and yourself. You don’t have to have something impressive to talk about. Be silent and accept silence. Accept a life of mundaneity. Accept the simplicity, smallness, and emptiness of being human.

Be in God’s love and in the love of your family and friends.