But I Repeat Myself

But I Repeat Myself June 7, 2018

I’m supposed to be doing some things—an’t keep them straight there are so many of them. But I’ve been obsessively reading everything that Adam Ford has been saying about Facebook, and have been obediently going directly to his site, and other sites, in the old fashioned crazy way of typing the whatchamacallit into the little search box there at the top of the browser thingy. In this way I feel virtuous and able, in my small way, to stick it to the Man. But while I’ve been doing that, I’ve also been running into that exhausting fallacy that saying something is exactly the same as doing something.

I mean, the two—saying and doing—are intimately bound, of course. Tightly wound up together, one might say. So much so that God, when he wants to intervene and really do something, speaks, indeed, comes as The Word. His speaking brings the very cosmos into being. And even our words, small as they are, have power, sometimes dangerously so. Making uncomfortable words go away is something every one of us, in our fundamentally totalitarian sinful natures, want to do. Making God be quiet is the first step, and then making everybody else be quiet after that is the best thing. The really super-natural miracle is for human people to be able to disagree with words rather than with swords, rocks, cars, knives, guns, and uranium.

It’s miraculous, and merciful. Because while God’s Word is fully integrated with his action—there isn’t any chasm between the two—for us the gap between them is most beneficial for civilization. And I think we should like to keep it that way. If I can say that I am angry with you and not at the same moment smack you in the face, if the one doesn’t accomplish the other, that is better for your face. It may hurt your feelings, but it hasn’t hurt your body. And that’s something for you to be thankful for. Because the body isn’t nothing.

Indeed, the gift of being able to use words first, before doing something, of having thought translated to another person and to oneself, in order to be able to consider what to do, is gracious, useful. What isn’t useful is collapsing one onto the other and trying to pretend they are exactly the same.

And yet, the great freedom of being able to say what you think is so dangerous precisely because it means you will probably do something. And so Mr. Zuckerberg rightly calculates that it’s better for some people not to be heard, not to be seen, not to be part of that great worldwide community that he’s trying to build, that one where he makes lots and lots of money and we all scroll and click obediently. He is doing and saying in equal measures, to the misery of us all.

Oh well, I will now go say words into the air. Words like “empty the dishwasher” and these will neither be heard, nor produce any action. Tinkerty Tonk.

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