Last Fall, Rodney Plunket and I team taught a lesson at White Station and I have used the book, Hyperculture, to teach a few other lessons for college students and for other churches. This material is thought provoking and I ask you to consider the following material as a challenge to slow down, live intentionally, and enjoy life with your family, friends, and your God.
Stephen Bertman starts the book off with this quote, “No man in a hurry is quite civilized.”
Bertman’s argument is simple, we are living at a speed that is too fast for us; hence the subtitle, “The human cost of speed.” This pace of life we live is called, “hyperculture” and it is fueled by, what Bertman calls, “the power of now.” He writes, “Nullifying a vision of the past and negating a true view of the future, warp speed isolates us in the present. Marooned there, floating in temporal zero-gravity, we turn to the present as our exclusive basis for fulfillment, and gratification as our sole source of security in a cosmos where all other sources of security have been stripped from us by our onrushing speed. Hurtling through time, we cling to the moment.(2)”
The power of now is fueled by three sources: technology, a loss of history, and the over-dependence of our senses.
First, we will turn to technology. Bertman claims, “Culturally, we have been conditioned to believe our technology frees us from labor. the more the technology, the easier our lives (4).” But is this really the truth?
A LOSS OF HISTORY
Second, Americans have bought into an ideal that the world is always progressing or becoming “new and improved.” We can’t wait for the newest model, like the iPhone 5 that many waited in line for. The new style is always better than the old whether that be cars, clothes, shoes or gaming consoles. And Bertman again warns that if we are inhabitants in a land ever “new” then, “we will always be exiles from time--mobile but homeless.(29)”
So, we give up on history living for the moment, this moment. The past is already done, the future is too far off to think about.
This has drastic implications for our faith, because the Bible is an ancient book, full of wisdom from past generations. the Bible tells us to live with the future in full view, understanding that the sins we commit today influences our future life. In a world where “now” is over exaggerated, the faith story is frustrating because it tries to frame the “now” in a larger journey of life and even beyond life.
OVER-DEPENDENCE ON OUR SENSES
Last, human senses fuel the power of now because every human wants to feel good and not feel bad. We desire to feel pleasure and stay away from pain and we desire that “now,” not later. But when the human senses are constantly overstimulated, then we constantly feel tired.
Bertman writes, “Our senses are limited in their ability to absorb and process information (for example: listening and taking notes). Life can be so stimulating, so fast, that our natural limits are exhausted (34).” If we are honest, we like to feel important. We like to know what’s going on and so no one has to twist our arms to receive emails or sign up for voicemail or join Facebook--anything that provides information to us for us is a good idea. Our desire to not miss out on anything, or be left out of anything, makes the decision for us.
In the end we understand the impact of “the power of now,” Bertman claims: “We have been drafted into a war--the time war--between the slower pace our minds and bodies crave and the faster tempo our technology demands. We are all combat veterans.” We must come to see that “slow” is not necessarily bad and that “fast” is not necessarily good.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.