I remember physics and chemistry lessons teaching us that everything in the world interacts with and has an effect on everything else. Forces of gravity, the collision of molecules, even light or air affects solid matter.
Information transmitted using modern technologies is the new intellectual force manifesting itself very powerfully in the 21st century. The need to go hunting high and low and travel to distant lands for information is now replaced with a data hurricane trying to get into our eyes, ears, brain, heart and soul. Today we can only survive if we escape the unnecessary information and limit it somehow. We have to come up with some kind of inner censorship that would grant useful information access to our hearts and reject everything else without even looking.
Otherwise, the hurricane will trample down every small sprout of our individual thought or creativity like a herd of buffaloes or a military parade. These sprouts would simply have no time to mature. They will be replaced with a ready-made matrix of feelings, ideas and experiences. Drawing us deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of industrial civilization, this artificial whirlpool seems to say, “There is no need to think. We have already thought of everything for you. Here’s your royal cheeseburger and everything else that you may need. Here’s the best philosopher to read, and here’s the best candidate to vote for. Just click ‘accept’ and go with it.”
In the end of the day, the heart of a modern person is covered with piles of garbage like Main Square after a city holiday. The virgin snow of the human soul turns into the gray mud of rubbish info. Our creative energy becomes paralyzed with attempts to process terabytes of information that cannot be processed. This causes information poisoning, destroys our ability to think soberly and makes us “follow the current”. As a result, we find ourselves carried down the “Gulf Stream” of the Internet into the hands of those who use information as a weapon to achieve their goals.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Viber — how many hours does it now take to “feed our Tamagotchi”? And would we still have any strength left for anything else?
Any writer knows that silence and tranquillity are necessary to put thought, feeling or image into words. In fact, any creative work requires certain detachment from the world.
As a priest, studying the holy fathers, I also know that any ascetic deed in particular and spiritual growth in general begins with inner peace and contemplation of your own soul.
This inner solitude is where God meets us. We have to find our way there and learn to live in harmony with ourselves if we wish to develop spiritually.
This is why informational fast is very important for an Orthodox Christian in the 21st century. We must learn to filter information flow so that we can discern the wondrous flowers of the Holy Spirit blooming in our own soul.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22, 23). This eternal immutable truth is the fundamental axiom of spiritual work.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds