When I started this post, I was thinking about an appropriate title for it. A number of ideas came to mind, most of them sarcastic! As I am determined to be taken seriously, I've chosen "Going Global, Getting Gobbled" with 4Gs, a title that keeps me up-to-date, but will probably condemn me in arrears next year! Nonetheless, this content will hopefully stay fresh for the next generation!
In 1785, James Madison wrote a bold statement in his "Memorial and Remonstrance" that we should take to heart with renewed seriousness: "We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties". While we still struggle with the relativity of right and wrong, the human conscience is not delusional, or else, cannibalism would still be legal in some villages of the Nagaland in India or elsewhere in the world. We all acknowledge that there is common sense in our human nature, allowing us to refrain from certain activities that are condemned by conscience, laws, religion or culture. What about freedom? Is it the natural call of humans to be free? Though the liberty of the person is a human right, the pursuit of it can become hostile when it is concretized into action, even in Western Societies, where respecting and preserving freedom is constitutional.
Before diving in further, let me ask some questions that may be coming to mind: Is freedom incited by having more choices? Are we more free when we do whatever we want to do? Are various types of freedom, such as freedom of belief, choice or action the same? Do they involve the same kind of freedom? Just simple questions that could engage our intellect for future blogs...
Commonly held "rights" or "freedoms" in many cultures, such as the right to abort, to have sex with whomever we wish, whenever we wish, and the right to divorce are, at their core, false freedoms. But in many countries and cultures, the media and certain activists groups hold these "rights" sacred and work tirelessly to preserve them. As a result, we are bombarded with constant and consistent messages that these "rights" are essential elements of what constitutes ultimate freedom as human beings. We need to carefully analyze these messages and determine if they are acceptable for human consumption! As it is perfectly said in Milan Kundera’s Immortality: “…a kind of energy that turns all human desires into rights…”. While encroaching freedom that is designed to set free, we’re witnessing a massive "matraquage" of other free-idioms, kind of brain washing promotions;
It is always faster to download data than to upload it. It’s much slower to describe your need to a customer service representative and be heard before digesting all of the information they want you to hear! It’s faster to receive information through advertising or audiovisual media than to promote one's own thoughts, opinions or insights. As scripture states, in the last days, knowledge will be common (2 Tim. 3: 7). Why is the world better at receiving and not nearly as good at giving? If you ask people about this question, especially in the Americas, they simply reply with this slogan: “It is what it is…” because they are not sure how to respond, or may not have thought critically about a response. But truly aren’t we living in a world that is unidirectionally guided, a world that is pioneer in putting forth the idea of communication and the first to misuse it?
When I was in school 16 years ago studying agriculture, one of the worse practices I remember learning about was the gavage. This practice involves force feeding ducks a rich diet in order to harvest and enjoy their “foie gras” (fat liver). It is a kind of forced feeding that some animal cruelty activists in California and elsewhere would like to outlaw due to it's cruelty. It is never wrong to force a diet on a person or an animal for good cause. The reasoning for doing it is obviously very important. The Gavage is a process where ducks are forced fed extremely large quantities of grain with a feeding tube in their beak, to the point that, if you were present to witness the feeding, you could hear grain rattling down into the ducks' bellies from 100 feet away! Your first reaction would likely be to want to rescue these poor animals from human cruelty. But don’t you think that today, the same kind of force-feeding is hitting our societies, our children, our consciences and our sub-consciences without any filter?! We have truly become a global human farm where media gavaging has become our mainstay and the farm owners are the global media (GM). Sadly, the few who run the large, media corporations wield great power and are able to dictate what they feel all should embrace in terms of beliefs, attitudes and opinions. There is little room for free thought since they are able to project almost every life aspect virtually. There is also little room for spiritual belief. Instead, they are promoting the might of human development and achievement as the solution for humankind. Their god is their media, not their stomach, as Paul describes in the book of Philippians (3:19). But similar to the concerns Paul expresses in Philippians, the mind of the media is set on earthly things.
Freedom of Action
To be more practical, this is a sample of how GM have led us to the gavage, where instead of cherishing our free moments with loved ones, we project our emotions, aspirations, and minute by minute events and activities virtually on social and other forms of media. Is this guided by our free will? Differently said, instead of enjoying nature and panorama, we prefer to capture it with our camera lens and post it somewhere, sometimes not enjoying the trip and accomplishing the initial goal of it. Likewise, saying happy birthday to our children, spouses and friends over social media, instead of creating real life good memories of it, or being more concerned about capturing the perfect Instagram of our social events makes us virtual and potentially fake, disingenuous or worse. Last weekend, I was invited to a friend’s wedding. I had to laugh when I saw an invited beautiful lady snapping pictures throughout the wedding with her big iPad connected to her face, dangling the cover so as to block the view of others. I couldn’t understand how "PadFace" lady really enjoyed and preferred to see the whole wedding from her screen instead of cherishing her friends’ union in real life. Do we truly think that living life through social media makes us more "hip." Social and civic media certainly have their places and are of great help to check on far away friends and family, and connect with dear ones all over the globe, but at the same time, I don’t understand how sharing a photo of today’s lunch could be of any improvement for humanity. And on the top of that, we think that we are making our own free choices when we post in social media, not realising that we are losing perspective on the richness of the event itself.
Freedom of the body
The GM promotes many false ideas and we’ve been gavaged gladly without questioning. The world has promoted, for five decades now, the idea that "falling in love” means that one should be "making love." Contrary to this, I have personally witnessed that true love kept me more vertical than any ephemeral attempted emotion of a “masked” love I’ve ever experienced! The world, through Hollywood, Bollywood and now “Globallywood” encourages “making love” as soon as you feel hormones kicking in. To them, the "right" time is when you personally decide it is right, whereas most of us humans at different life stages have experienced how true love can really make us what we ought to be and restore our image to God’s likeness. “Making love” is not wrong, but the media has devalued the beauty of this action by tacky choices, stretching its core beyond its predesigned frame and ripping it into pieces that distort the beauty of God's artful design! In other words, allowing the liberty of the body under the title "Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Action and Belief" is very misleading and at the same time really costly to the extent that it is ripping off our societies, destroying families, breaking human hearts and self image, killing foetuses, encouraging violence, and the list goes on and on. Moreover, enforcing laws of such "freedom" in so-called free countries is an absolute threat to the uniqueness of a person. Let me develop this further below.
Conformity over Unity?
Being united by our humanity on this planet can never make us cookie cutter or prototyped beings. The world today more than ever is stressing a new, global tolerance. “We should embrace our differences” a common saying that is very true, though “respecting our liberties” should definitely be added to this slogan, as we are experiencing how tolerance is encouraged among freedom of speech on one hand, and the commonness of secularism is enforced and sometimes imposed upon privatized freedom of belief on another hand. We are living in a world that is encouraging tolerance of all beliefs, but the media is mandating specifics! While you are tolerating but not adopting other’s beliefs, this same world accuses you of non acceptance and on the same "freedom of belief" basis, the system charges you of transgressing this freedom. In today’s worldview, we hear a lot that “every human being is a variation of yourself." While we’ve been taught that God has created us unique, and in His own image and likeness, I think we should reconsider a serious call for unity over another call “à la mode" for conformity! Jesus once said you know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." I have always been convinced that relative truth will set a relative freedom, but pursuing the ultimate truth in Christ will result in true freedom of the being. This is my humble Christian opinion, and I hope it will pass through the readers' sights without being judged, or transgressed. After all, we’re invited to embrace and express our differences!
In the end, my fear is that we are heading toward a global holocaust breathing intolerance which the media presents as a benign, tolerable gas. And we have been gavaged by uni-directed idioms leading to our self destruction, and numbed and euthanized by the subtlety of those media messages. Our minds are already so manipulated and downcast by GM, that many are truly deprived of personal perspectives. Maybe some of us may think that we've been indoctrinated, or using the same verb, gavaged by Christian faith, from influences from our past, our parents and our societies. But, today more than ever, we're witnessing a free will choice to let go of this same faith by hundreds. Moreover, thousands are practicing Christianity by tradition without beliefs or the bearing of spiritual fruit in faithful lives.
But parallel to this, aren't we witnessing today the same force feeding or indoctrination of secularism? And somehow, we're not allowed to choose to adopt or flee the system by choice? Being a true Christian is being threatened by laws in so-called Christian countries like the USA. I always think that the validation of a system can be proved or validated by its tangible effect on someone's life. And in the Christian faith and life of Christians, Jesus, by His and our free choice, changes the essence of our human nature, tracing a better human being, and touching and redeeming all areas of our life. We know that Christians are not perfect human beings. But, they work hard by motives and belief to meet their Master’s standards. It's not surprising that Gandhi would say: “Give me your Christ, and take your Christianity" given that we all fall short of God's glory and intended purposes for us. But take it easy on us, because God is working on us as we dwelt on this earth, within tainted systems which may provide temporary comfort and relief, but never sate the most profound existential hunger of the soul. The proof is crystal clear if we consider and observe the fruits of our post modern society (some of those unspiritual fruits are mentioned above). From birth we have been doomed by our “non-Christian" actions and a bloody history defying what Jesus teaches. This has been true from the time of the first sin, and in our times, we continue to witness a bloody twentieth century led by secularists and secular regimes. If we read the last century's history, the number of exterminated people is far larger than the losses related to all human wars combined. But, Jesus said, "I came for you to have life, and have it abundantly." If we want to be life spreaders, let us work hard to communicate the Ultimate Truth so that with us others may experience true freedom of being. For "whom the Son set free is free indeed!" And let us embrace our differences while respecting our liberties.