Back in April I wrote a blog post about why I had deleted my Facebook page and my Twitter feed. Essentially, I argued that Facebook and Twitter contributed to the lack of silence in my life in that they allowed me to fill my time with less meaningful things. And, more importantly, Facebook and Twitter were fallen entities that tended toward dehumanization. That is, Facebook and Twitter encouraged me to spend less time with actual people in actual circumstances. They encouraged me to view people as one-dimensional. They encouraged me to reduce myself to a profile. Toward the end of the post, I stated that I thought some people could use social media responsibly, but that I did not possess the necessary skills.
And this was wisdom! If your eye causes you to sin, then gouge it out. Abandonment of practices which are not best for us is often times a good decision. Recovering alcoholics should not, say, have even just one drink.
However, another stream of wisdom advocates moderation. That is, most things in this world are made up of both good and bad elements, and the discerning person should be able navigate the world in such a way as to affirm the good. This is especially true of tools. Tools are neither good nor bad, but they can be used for either. Of course, some tools tend toward one over the other. I would argue that a gun tends toward bad (though it does have some good uses) while medicine tends toward good (though it can have some bad uses).
My point is that there are times when abandonment of a tool is the best course of action, but there are other times when sacrificing the good possibilities in a tool for the sake of abandoning the bad possibilities in a tool becomes too much. Or, to say it another way: sometimes one value trumps another.
I have discovered in my five months away from social media that I am slowly losing touch with many of my friends and even some family. Moreover, I find that by not having Facebook, it is becoming harder for me to build new relationships with a whole generation of people. To what degree should my personal holiness be a greater concern than loving other people? I don’t know, but I think it is possible to use Facebook responsibly.
Abandonment altogether is always easier than doing something in moderation. The first just requires willpower while the second requires wisdom and discernment.
So I’m back, but in moderation.
Pray for me?