I am no scholar, but the Bible calls on us to evangelize. There is a philosophical call in JWR’s material to be productive at every level and to eschew being idly entertained. We may not sit in our respective holes and just watch.
The letter that follows brought this to a bright, shiny point in my mind:
In his 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman considers the arguments of two books – 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Postman wrote,
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.” Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death
“An Orwellian world is much easier to recognize, and to oppose, than a Huxleyan,” my father wrote. “Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us … [but] who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements?” Andrew Postman (son of Neil) in The Guardian online, February 2, 2017
Neil Postman argued that Huxley was right. America would become so immersed in amusement and entertainment that it would willingly, complacently, apathetically, “go down without a fight.” It seems that the prophet was on target, and we are suffering the consequences of a cultural love affair with technology (the most apparent being our smart phones) and social media. There does not seem to be an end in sight for this love affair. Therefore, it seems prudent to me to raise the level of awareness so that we might be awake and prepared to engage the “enemy.” If we are not on guard, we will unconsciously (or perhaps consciously) “amuse ourselves to death.”
I am reading The Vanishing American Adult, by Senator Ben Sasse. The author shares his observations about our culture (specifically, the age group in their college years) from his five years as a college president of Midland University. Sasse is the homeschooling father of three children and holds a Ph.D. in American history from Yale. He recognizes the disintegration of the American family, provides the reasons for delayed adulthood, and offers solutions to our cultural problem.
Although the author is a politician, he is first a husband and father, and the book is not political. It is a call for all of us to be engaged in teaching our children the importance of knowing what is good, true, and beautiful. It is a call for us to be countercultural (follow Jesus, not the culture), recognize the value of hard work and self-reliance, embrace production rather than consumption, and become lifelong learners who are truly literate and think critically and analytically. I hope that you will invest in a copy of The Vanishing American Adult and pray that it will inspire you as you nurture and train the souls entrusted to you by God.
With you on the journey,
We started our homeschool journey a couple years back– three. As I see results and interact with the people involved, I have never been more convinced we are on the right track. The school is populated with bright eyes and fresh faces that do not hesitate to carry on a conversation with any passing adult at the school. There is a stark contrast in maturity level between homeschool and public school children that is increasingly evident.
I’m writing this and studying for my General Ham license while recovering from total knee replacement surgery on one knee. Sitting this still drives me nuts, but at least I am getting something done. We thank God every day for leading us to where we are. – S.L.