Sometimes, I think that, if I were to lose the Internet, it would not be such a big deal. I have this powerful window to look anywhere in the world and I don’t think I would miss it all that much.
I have made friends here, that is true, as well as learned things I did not know. At anytime, nearly any question can be answered, not always well, but answered. With its assistance, I am able to diagnose chickens, order pizza, send pictures of the kids to Mom and all the other social things I always forget about. It reminds me of birthdays I can never remember (It’s nothing personal. It’s Dyscalculia.), talk to people I have not seen in years and chat with people on the other side of this Great Ball of Dirt. It is an immense tool, and I would be at a severe loss without it.
It also has a Dark Side. In using the Internet for 14 years, I have seen and heard things I would have never imagined. Sometimes these tidbits are intended as a joke (remember Goatse?) and other times, you happen onto them when headed elsewhere.
Though unintended, that with should not be seen nor heard is seen or heard, and it leaves a blight on your soul. You can feel it there, like black tar, a sticky mess of awful that won’t go away. That it is there can cause soul-wearying pain.
In Philippians 4, Paul admonishes the first congregation in Europe, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:6-8) Give your worries to God, and you won’t have any time for impure thoughts. Keep in mind to be a Good Person always, and you’ll stay a good person.
Buddha also covers this in the Noble Eightfold Path, explaining how the Key to Life and the Cessation of Suffering (Dukkha) is to hold to a course of Right thinking and Right action, higher moral discipline which would lead to higher wisdom.
I recall a Christian Preacher describing television in the 1980’s as a ‘Spigot of Sin.’ Every time you turn it on, it spews filthy knowledge into your home. Murders, rapes, torture and kidnapping are all sprayed liberally in a bright colored stream all over your living room.
I have to admit that, at the time and with the programming we had available, his warnings seem overblown, but this Internet phenomenon has made it more apparent. Suddenly, I have access to any case file from any brutal crime, along with the thoughts of a serial killer as transcribed by Police soon after capture. Every story, new or old, is played up for optimum effect, to make it hurt and and make you ask ‘Why?’ Photos of things no one should see, the footage of crimes too brutal to imagine, all waiting for the click of the mouse.
I have seen things that I would have never imagined on my own, and borrowed thoughts too twisted to imagine. In my eternal pursuit to understand why there is evil in the world, I learned that my questions were inadequate. When I gave up the chase, I only knew that there already existed one more step further into Awful that people can push. The deepest part of the abyss that I can observe is that, like it says in Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun. This awful destructive tendency of Man has gone on for time immemorial.
All action in our Universe begins with a thought. The Thought has been likened to the temptations of the Old Deceiver, who is cloaking soul-crushing sin in acceptable finery. In Buddhism, sometimes even to ponder is the first bad decision, not because thinking is wrong, but because a wrong thought or decision might be the first step toward torturous calamity.
Ignorance can be bliss, indeed. I don’t need to be constantly reminded of the Awful of Man as much as I have to keep working on my defense of the species. What Good is Man but the Good in him? What are the Right and Noble things in Mankind that justify a Love for them all?
This path is harder for the Irreligious, because there is no one to ask for immediate and all-encompassing forgiveness. The Irreligious Man carries his burden to the grave and, if there is something after, he might have to be called in question for his acts and thoughts. Whether or not there is a Here-After, I try to keep that burden as light as I can bear, while doing what I can to lighten it for others along the way.
In Numbers 32:23, Moses says, “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Everyone loves this verse. Like a creeping blob, Sin is rolling along, seeking whom it can devour. They put it on bumper stickers and intone it like a self-satisfied curse…. ‘Be ye warned… Your Sin shall find you out!’ Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Men? Sin knows, and it is going to be on you like a spider monkey.
It is often forgotten that Moses was inciting the Children of Israel to to slaughter all the indigenous people of an entire nation. In this verse, the Sin was Mercy. (See Numbers 32: 20-22)
I can’t help but wonder if the Sunday School Teacher knew what she was doing when she insisted that we watch Ted Bundy’s final interview with James Dobson of ‘Focus on the Family.’ Here was a depraved man blaming his wretched crime spree on pornography, and hinting that he had asked Jesus for forgiveness.
The very idea of spending Eternity with such a fellow is enough to make anyone question their Religion.
In Philippians 4:9, Paul presents an answer. He was sitting in prison, most likely awaiting his execution, when the European Congregation contacted him to see if they were still on for the Revival. He thanks them for the concern and admonishes them, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Not W.W.J.D., but ‘What would Paul do?’ In avoiding the slings and arrows of Dukkha, it is helpful to have a hero to emulate, someone you can picture when you don’t know what to do, but I would recommend someone a little less misogynistic (1 Timothy 2:12), even if he did try to get Masters to be nicer to their Slaves (Ephesians 6:9).
Something to ponder while I review a proper Net Nanny.