125 Million Things

Talking Mouth
Image by rrho via Flic

In the past eighteen days, five million “25 things” were sent out on Facebook.  They are a testament to, in my opinion, the all-pervasive self infatuation that defines our culture (for those of you that fill these out, please do not take offense to what I have to say- for no self survey is necessarily bad, but we do need to consider something here). Not only do we provide detailed descriptions of ourselves on our Home Pages, Myspaces, Facebook profiles, and Blogspots, but we proceed to broadcast our every move with Status Updates, emails, text messages, and the ever insightful “25 things” each of our 723 online friends received. And these surveys are downright amazing.  I find myself glued to the edge of my squeaky computer chair with anticipation when reading facts about what someone’s had for dinner, or what time they plan on going to bed, or that their dog smells like pee/liquorish, or how they’ve decided to skip homework to complete “yet another survey.”

Is there something that compels us to constantly offer information about ourselves- to constantly advertise? Standing in enormous piles of novel tidbits, we (and I do mean “we”) shovel and shovel and shovel them into as many other brains as possible… and to what end?

Maybe we want to be heard. To be known. To be important. To be understood. For others to care about us. For our lives to matter.

At least I do.

After thinking it through just a bit, allow me to propose something- perhaps we can change this current trend towards meaninglessness. We do not need to spew words to be loved, the opposite might even be true. People just might love, respect, and cherish us when we choose our words for them instead of packing as many as possible into their ears. Maybe we should speak less and say more.

Speak Less, Say More.

Is it possible that as our words increase, those heard decrease?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been an active participator in this culture of quantity, but I’m committing myself to take back worth, quality, mystery, class, and meaning. I want to open up more to friends I have drifted away from, to give affection to those I adore yet somehow hesitate to show love for, to listen when others are speaking, to raise my voice when others suffer unjustly, to keep some thoughts to myself, and to give other thoughts away.

I want to be heard.

Therefore I will Speak Less and Say More.

Allen Marshall O'Brien

Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.

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