Seeking the good in the bad
A few years back, a friend and I were out to dinner at an establishment in which a local celebrity was also dining. Almost instinctively and virtually in sync, she and I each grabbed our phones in order to update our facebook statuses. The online world, we both thought, must know of our being at the right place at the right time! Now, I have always argued that facebook is inherently not conducive to the building and maintaining of rich and meaningful friendships. Messages limited to small talk, “liking” someone’s wall post and “poking” someone have become the worthless currency of online friendships. Assigning meaning to arbitrary actions and mistaking the virtual for the real, we have in the process reconceptualized friendship as a task-oriented and utilitarian proposition. And let’s not forget the narcissism that drives our need to publicize our daily calendar.
Having said that … amidst this reality does remain a valid point about the human condition. In the same way that “Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God,” as G.K. Chesteron famously said, I think facebook has become a natural outlet for a mankind who desires communion with others. When I shared the fact that I saw a famous person, I was motivated by the desire to share my excitement with others. Because motivation is that which give response in mind. As a reflection of the Trinity, mankind by nature possesses a series of universal longing toward which we all gravitate. Chief among these desires is communion with God and others. If we realized the real route of our usage of things like facebook, we could begin to order our good desires towards the ends they were intended.
By Ryan Bilodeau