For the Soul: Still.

The endless cycle of idea and action, 

Endless invention, endless experiment,

Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;

Where is the Life we have lost in living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in information?

– T.S. Eliot

I read that poem today, and could not help but think that T.S. Eliot could never have realized how prophetic his words were.

I’ve been pondering, of late, the concept of information fatigue. When I consider how much time I usually spend in front of a computer: paying bills, looking up recipes, researching for church activities or genealogy, downloading photos, filing taxes, writing letters, making grocery lists, keeping track of calories, shopping, looking up knitting patterns, and that’s to say nothing of social media–well, how could I *not* be fatigued?

Sometimes, I feel like I’m being assaulted by all that exists out in the world. I’m extraordinarily militant with regard to what I will view out on the Internet; I don’t believe in bringing things into my home that are not uplifting. That doesn’t mean I have my head in the sand. I watch the news, and I like to be abreast of what’s happening out there. But I don’t believe in filling my home or my head with garbage I don’t need, just because it exists. No extra negativity. No ugliness. No thank you.

And yet, somehow, it seems to creep in anyway. No matter how selectively I hide and block things on Facebook (one of the most gleeful inventions on earth, in my opinion. Friends whom I thought were lost to me forever are right  there! In my computer! I think it’s fantastic, used correctly), it insists on re-adding the “spy on every little thing your friends say and do and think and like” ticker, no matter how many times I block it. I find out a lot of things I wish I hadn’t known by accidentally mousing over that stupid ticker.

Pinterest, a fantastic tool for finding and organizing recipes and craft ideas and that home we will someday be able to afford (and will cost about $4 million dollars if it looks like my Pinterest board) loves to share all kinds of ugly crap with me–political crap, profane crap, sometimes even pornographic crap. Apparently, I just can’t get away from it.

But aside from the ugliness, even on a hypothetically perfectly day, if everything were  all sunshine and roses in social mediaville, there is still just so much out there. On a day like today, when I feel housebound and a little beaten by the weather, I end up spending far too much time on the computer. That’s its own problem, of course. But even having spent that time fairly productively, by the end of the day I feel mentally bloated, as if I’ve simply consumed far too many bits and bytes of information. I feel almost incapable of leaving the couch and the computer, and at the same time, completely disinterested in looking at it any longer. And yet, I don’t turn it off. The rushing river of information has cracked its levee, and a small, leaking pool is slowly creeping over me, drowning all my functional and critical thought as it grows.

Where is the wisdom we have lost in information?

Where is the Life we have lost in living?

I was talking with my parents this weekend about things that are good vs. things that are better. It seems to be a recurring theme in my life. I’m not sure whether it pops up when I most need to hear it, or whether I’m more sensitive at certain times to a message that’s ever-present because I know I’m at fault. I know there are better things I could be doing with some, and perhaps a great deal, of my time. I know there is a far more I want to accomplish in my time on earth. It makes me nervous to think of the things I have put off sheerly because I have been too lazy to get around to bothering about them, and how those things could change my life and my family. It occurred to me today that I am far too little willing to sacrifice my bad habits and poor planning for the things that would make me happier.

Stillness. Life. Wisdom. Just thinking the words makes me feel more at peace.

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