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I’ve often contemplated the affect of technology on our generation…and on myself personally.  It seems that we are obsessed with entertainment, in a variety of forms.  There are so many things that can occupy our minds, so that we never have a moment of peace & quiet. Do we understand & stop to consider the toll that this is taking on ourselves, our families, & our communities?  I love today’s quote by Henry Ford because it reminds me that “thinking” (concentrating, focusing, considering, pondering, meditating, contemplating, etc.) doesn’t just happen by default…it really does take work!  And it means removing some of the distractions that are so loudly calling for our attention.

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I found these quotes by Neil Postman & I think he paints a realistic picture of our society today (I find it interesting that he said this back in the 1980′s)…

“Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials.” ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk…” ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

Are we, as Neil Postman suggests, amusing ourselves to death?  Are we willing to give up our freedoms, & the best things in life, in exchange for the allure of continual entertainment?  Now, I’m not here to preach specific do’s & don’ts of how you should spend your time…that’s not the point…and that is up to each person to decide for themselves.

What I am suggesting is that we wake up & pay more attention to what we allow to take up our time & our thoughts.  Here are a few questions that might help you gage how you are doing when it comes to “the hard work of thinking”…

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– Do you create time each day to remove yourself from the noise & distractions of the world so that you can focus on what’s most important?

– Do you work through difficult things in your mind by contemplating & pondering them…or do you often escape dealing with life through different channels of entertainment?

– Do you know how to meditate/ponder for a set amount of time?  Or do you find your mind wanders easily?

– Do you question your thoughts…or allow them to run on default mode most of the time?

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If we are to have a relationship with God, then it is vital that our lines of communication stay open. I love these quotes from a talk by Boyd K.Packer…

– “Inspiration comes more easily in peaceful settings. Such words as quiet, still, peaceable, Comforter abound in the scriptures: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10; italics added.)

– “Elijah felt a great wind, an earthquake, a fire. The Lord was not in any of them; then came “a still small voice.” (1 Kgs. 19:12.)

– “It was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul.” (Hel. 5:30.)

– “The world grows increasingly noisy….This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless. The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer. Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit.”

2 thoughts on “”

  1. Love this. The past year with particular things happening in our family and with myself I have created a bad habit of escaping through entertainment with things are stressful or when I just cant cope with something. I need to break that habit! I have wasted precious time just because I feel like at the moment I cannot handle and need to escape. In the end I don’t feel any better. This post has inspired me to do better. To pay more attention to my thoughts and think through them…not escape them. Here is a pdf of quotes on pondering that I have used before. Very enlightening. I forgot about it until this post.
    http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/PDF/Quotes/Pondering.pdf

    Also, I love this quote from President Hinckley:

    “You need time to meditate and ponder, to think, to wonder at the great plan of happiness that the Lord has outlined for His children. You need to read the scriptures. You need to read good literature. You need to partake of the great culture which is available to all of us.

    I heard President David O. McKay say to the members of the Twelve on one occasion, “Brethren, we do not spend enough time meditating.”

    I believe that with all my heart. Our lives become extremely busy. We run from one thing to another. We wear ourselves out in thoughtless pursuit of goals which are highly ephemeral. We are entitled to spend some time with ourselves in introspection, in development. I remember my dear father when he was about the age that I am now. He lived in a home where there was a rock wall on the grounds. It was a low wall, and when the weather was warm, he would go and sit on his wall. It seemed to me he sat there for hours, thinking, meditating, pondering things that he would say and write, for he was a very gifted speaker and writer. He read much, even into his very old age. He never ceased growing. Life was for him a great adventure in thinking.

    Your needs and your tastes along these lines will vary with your age. But all of us need some of it. I decry the great waste of time that people put into watching inane television. I am not antisports. I enjoy watching a good football game or a good basketball game. But I see so many men who become absolutely obsessed with sports. I believe their lives would be enriched if, instead of sitting on the sofa and watching a game that will be forgotten tomorrow, they would read and think and ponder.

    They would be blessed if they were to go out into the dark of the night, look at the stars, and ponder their place in the eternal plan of the Almighty.”

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