Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blank Spaces

In one of John Wesley's addresses ("An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion") he writes:

"And, indeed, it is obvious that the earth, as it is now constituted, even with the help of all European arts, does not afford sufficient employment to take up half the waking hours of half its inhabitants."
I've always been intrigued with this claim, because it is so obviously false in today's culture. He claimed that in the blank spaces that were a matter of course in 18th century life, people were forced to reflect on themselves and the futility of life apart from God. Such reflection, I'll claim, is an important (I'll almost say, essential) component of being a rational creature.

TV, Ipods, internet, etc., do pretty well at filling up all the blank spaces in life today, and it is pretty easy for people to go through life and never have to reflect at all, but merely react to the constant stimuli they encounter. I'll almost claim that makes such creatures less human.

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