Micah Meadowcroft sounds a refrain that we can’t hear often enough:

The glory of reading is its capacity to make us more ourselves, as we learn with minimal mediation how to pay attention and integrate within our own minds the varieties of human thought and experience. But technology teaches and shapes us, too. Humanity’s efforts to imagine the future into which we are running headlong, the confrontation within ourselves between the physical word and its facsimile on screens, those light bearers—and once Satan was named Lucifer—have not been exactly hopeful. Consider the despairing suicide of John the Savage in Brave New World. Or Montag on the run in Fahrenheit 451, his mind clinging to Ecclesiastes and a little bit of Revelation. What is read in a book becomes part of the self, word made a kind of flesh in us, but the glow of a monitor represents data, information not our own, othered and out there, and us just more nodes.

Posted by Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org

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