If you only ever read the Bible, what’s your understanding of the world and your place in it?
If you only ever watch Jerry Springer, what are your beliefs about fidelity and commitment?
If you only ever watch Oprah, what are your standards for volunteerism and charity?
If you only ever attend business school, how do you manage employees?
The books we read, the TV we watch, the places we go, and the subjects we study allow us to filter the world. With the barrage of information coming at us today, we can’t survive without filters. What happens when those filters are too narrow? If you’ve studied the Bible, read the Western canon, and taken survey courses in most of the major Liberal Arts disciplines, then you probably have a fairly strong sense of your place in the world. At the very least, you see your studies reflected in the movies, television, and advertisements that you encounter every day. Chances are, you see very little that’s new.
Imagine that you don’t have this background. When you listen to recorded music downloaded from the Internet, view TV shows beamed from the sky, and watch movies on a handheld device that doubles as a gaming system, when do you have time to think about the nature of the world and your place in it? After all, everything’s so new. All the messages, the media, the technology, the gadgets. You spend all your time chasing and no time thinking. When you’re confronted with a situation that tests your attitudes and beliefs, you default to what you’ve seen in your environment. What would Jesus do? What would Oprah do? What would Peter Drucker do? What would Earl do?
There’s no time to go see a soloist because you have to rebuild the iPod you just replaced. There’s no time to volunteer because you have to go to a breast cancer walk. There’s no time to read a book because you have to watch the TV show that you recorded last night. There’s no time to reflect on the world and your place in it because you’re too busy living. How are our kids ever going to find purpose in a world like this?