Tuesday, March 09, 2021

The siren call

The satan of publicity dances at the crossroads, moving with full strength. Who is the wise man who has not gone out after him, following his drums and dances? We tend to lick the dust of his feet in order to gain fame. In truth, the soul has only that which is hidden in its world, that which is sealed in its treasure houses. The quality of a person is internal. He does not live by what his mouth says but by the secret. The honor of a person is a secret. —Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 56

<idle musing>
Remember satan in Hebrew means "temptor"—and who hasn't heard the siren call of publicity in our fame-hungry world? This quotation follows-up on yesterday's, on the secret life.

True wisdom is cultivated out of the public eye, which is difficult to do in our media-saturated world. Taking the time to actually think is frowned upon. The fear of missing out is a very real thing. Who wants to be embarassed when someone mentions some little tidbit from the latest gossip or news mill and you don't have a clue what they are talking about? But that stuff is just hebel and shwa, vapor and nothingness, it passes away and what are you left with?

This pandemic and its associated lockdowns gave us a chance to be alone and cultivate inner strength. Instead far too many either used it to protest the imposition on their rights or to binge-watch whatever their favorite shows were.

As image-bearers, we should know better. We do know better. But that's too much work, isn't it? Binge-watching or binge-whining is far easier—and initially more rewarding. But, just like the scroll that John eats in Revelation, it turns sour in the stomach.
</idle musing>

No comments: