Wyatt Emmerich: Keeping the Faith

Wyatt Emmerich

RRecently, many of my friends and acquaintances have expressed concern about the future of our country and the world. They ask me if I agree.

My first reaction is to tell them I’m on leave. As a journalist, I have been immersed in these social issues all my life. I did that there. There is nothing new under the sun. All of these questions have been debated for eons.

What is new is the pace of technological development, which is faster than ever. It creates both good and bad, but mostly good.

I was born an optimist. I really think it’s a genetic predisposition. So I can’t help it. As such, I am biased. That’s why it’s important to have a variety of opinions from a variety of people. Everyone has their own intrinsic point of view.

It’s fun to write your opinion. For decades I had the pleasure of making a living doing this. Thanks to technology, anyone today can write their opinion and spread it to the world through social media and the World Wide Web. It is progress.

Social media and the internet have launched an explosion of opinions, comments, opinions, rants, and more. People were starving for an outlet and when they finally got one the world started to overflow with internet posts, blogs and comments. etc These opinions were still there, they simply did not have the means to express themselves.

Over time, this creative outburst of free thought and opinion will subside as we adjust to the new reality of immediate and unlimited feedback and opinion. The human mind has an amazing ability to adapt and we’ll take that in stride. It just takes time.

Sooner or later, everyone will have heard every diatribe. We will both know both sides. It won’t be new or exciting. And our culture will adapt and evolve.

I remember an elderly man’s group that meets for lunch once a week here in Jackson. Over the years they’ve told the same jokes so many times that they just refer to the joke as a number and everyone laughs.

Congress is considering asking the National Science Foundation to study and propose suitable algorithms for social media. Facebook’s algorithms are rooted in “engagement” and nothing engages like outrage, so Facebook is eager to stick outrageous content on your News Feed. It’s good for their publicity.

Instant communication, unlimited search and unlimited data on the Internet allow current affairs talk shows to instantly find the most outrageous news of the day. So if you watch these shows, you’ll be bombarded with outrageous stuff non-stop. Human nature is such that when bombarded with outrageous content, people become outraged, angry, worried, anxious and fearful. This is how the Trump election riot of January 6 happened.

So, if you don’t want to feel these emotions, the solution is very simple. Don’t watch the news. I do not. And I rarely feel outrage and anger. I also don’t spend much time on social media, especially when they’re deliberately designed to manipulate me.

Our search for knowledge and truth seems insatiable. The James Webb Space Telescope is an infrared observatory orbiting the Sun about 1 million miles from Earth to find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe and to see stars forming planetary systems. It cost ten billion dollars.

I hope to enjoy some cool photos, but I’m under no illusions that it will significantly advance my understanding of the universe. We probably know more than 2,000 years ago. But our knowledge, as a percentage of the whole, was infinitesimal then and it is infinitesimal now.

Is the world going to hell in a hand basket? Maybe if we turn our backs on God. He has done it before and he can do it again. It’s his world, not ours. Our commandment to be good stewards of the world should never be confused with being its master or creator.

Global poverty has fallen from 35% in 1990 to 12% today. This is amazing progress, never equaled before. The marvel of the Internet and high-speed wireless communications, search engines and data storage will ensure that these advancements will look like nothing over the next 30 years.

God makes straight paths with crooked sticks. He will use these new human advances to advance his kingdom. The future will get better and better. There’s only one thing that can ruin it all: us and our unbelief. Fortunately, we have a patient and merciful God.

Wyatt Emmerich is editor and publisher of The Northside Sun, a Jackson weekly. He can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected]

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