Americans live in a fast-paced society. We’re used to a 24/7 news cycle with instant updates. Media conglomerates promote “web speed” for professionals and all Americans alike. Internet surfers become impatient if websites take long to load. On social media there are millions and millions who participate in the minute by minute snapshots of life. On a multiplicity of TV channels, images move fast and change rapidly. Audiences are bombarded with sound bites that are entertaining to watch, but don’t tell the whole story. News is presented in 15 or 30-second segments like commercials. Such fare is backed up by weekly polling and telephone interviews to monitor the public’s sentiments.
Radio and TV call-in talk shows demand answers right away, and give callers quick feedback about education, religion, the economy, health, and disasters. Much of this information is sent via pictures by Smart phones. American are used to cutting corners, logging on, tuning in, and dialing up, for services. We now live in an age of instant gratification. By pressing a few buttons people use the Grindr app on their phones to find dates.
Around the nation millions stream videos. DVDs come from Netflix which has more than 8-million mail subscribers. Shoppers receive services on the same day and there are self-check out lines in stores which keep customers moving. Walmart has Walmart-To-Go and Amazon has expedited shopping. We are used to fast foods through drive thru-windows at McDonald’s, Hardee’s and Wendy’s.
Critics think that quick fixes may result in nimble thinking. Educators feel learning takes time, and repetition by students, to really get it. But, Americans appear convinced that “snail mail” is out. They can email friends and coworkers and use instant messaging. Consumers are used to paying a bit more for overnight shipping.
We have become a society of texting and tweeting. Some social media accept no more than 140 characters per tweet. What you have to say, say it fast, and in a sound bite. To some, dating is speed dating. No longer is it required to know a person before deciding to date. Gadgets and more gadgets have become the name of the game. It was actor, writer and director David Duchovny (b. 1960) who writes, “I’m kind of stupid when it comes to gadgets.” Was he saying that he has allowed gadgets to rule his life? Or, does he mean that he’s stupid when it comes to knowing what gadgets can really do?
Speed & Emptiness
Since all events are happening so fast, it leaves us wondering what’s next. In trying to multitask are we forming bad habits of dependency on gadgets? Does our impatience in demanding things now, lead to health problems viz., diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, of relying on fast food and soda machines? Must we blame capitalism and consumerism for dishing out what these sources faster and faster? How must we view our dependency on technological devices? These remain tricky problems.
False Sense of Security
It was record producer, conductor and 27-time Grammy winner, Qunicy Jones (b. 1933) who observes, “I have all the tools and gadgets. I tell my son, who’s a producer, ‘You never work for the machine; the machine works for you.’” Is this the lesson we must take away about inventions which keep speeding up our life? Should it be determined then that Americans pick and choose from the technological offerings which work best for them? But, aren’t we failing at this?
Insights On Developments
To a Christian, being wise must be key when making decisions about his or her nation’s culture. Patience is a virtue, but society’s growing impatience may be a bad thing, if not checked. Despite the speed everywhere, a believer may be concerned that Americans are heading down a chaotic road. It should be remembered that God is in control. Why must a person allow his or her mind and body to deteriorate from mental health issues, through the demands placed by gadgets promoted, for their benefit?
A Christian must learn to cultivate patience – the capacity to endure hardship, difficulty, or inconvenience without complaint. Daily devotion is essential for every Christian. By reflecting and praying for wisdom he or she will seek God’s grace, in embracing the fruits of the spirit. In dedication to the Lord, a person will know peace, love, joy and fulfillment. Instant gratification will never be the answer to understanding life’s problems. We have to live and face issues with perseverance and overcome difficulties when they arise. One of the tests of our modern age is how to live victoriously in a fast-paced nation. This challenge ought to be met head on, by making wise choices, when living a Christian life.