Today the World Health Organization is going to add “Gaming Disorder” to its list of Mental Health Disorders. One of the criteria is “significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”
Note the word “functioning”, this is a mechanistic word, as is the word “dysfunctional” - but we are not machines (are we?) - if we have a problem “functioning” then we have a mental health disorder; and who defines “functioning”? - our social engineers. Forget about relationships at home or work or school, let’s focus on functioning. If we function we have societal worth, if we don’t and we can’t be fixed then let’s dispose of ourselves (as long as we are disposing of others this doesn’t seem to be a problem, but when they come for us we wonder what happened).
Have the social engineers who came up with Gaming Disorder been to a restaurant lately? High end or low end, it doesn’t matter, diners are checking their smartphones, paying little attention to those with whom they are eating. I’ve seen couples dining together, both focused on their smartphones for the entire evening - the phones may be smart but we are stupid. Have these social engineers been to a business meeting with attendees checking their phones throughout the meeting? Maybe these engineers have been to restaurants and have been to business meetings, but they haven't noticed because they've been checking their own smartphones and tablets.
For years Asian and European studies have demonstrated the deterioration of cognitive development and ability in children and adolescents who use smartphones and tablets, but we have chosen to ignore these studies. Our collective addiction to electronic devices is akin to opioid or nicotine addiction. Some parents are sending their children to electronic detox facilities - I wonder if we can all get a group discount.
Of course, when our political and “cultural” leaders communicate via Twitter...well, what is one to do?
We are living within Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and don’t know it. Bradbury was a better prophet than many Christian authors and speakers who pedal “End Times” drama for a dollar and an audience. Just which “Matrix” are we living in?
In the Bible God calls His people out of Babylon. No doubt Babylon has many manifestations...perhaps one of them is the babble of Twitter, the text, the Instagram, and the compulsive Facebook post.
We are a nation of addicts. As Neil Postman wrote, we are “Amusing Ourselves to Death”. If Mr. Postman were alive today...what would he think, how would he update his book?
When Paul wrote in Romans Chapter Twelve that we should be renewing our minds I don’t think he was thinking about electronic cocaine. If we are not renewing our minds with the noble, and just, and pure, and lovely, and good, and virtuous (Philippians 4:8) then just what are we putting into our minds and the minds of our children?
Gaming Disorder = Parental Disorder = Societal Disorder = ???? What is the natural consequence and trajectory?
And then there is the folly of the church trying to be like the world to attract the world...but I’d better stop because I haven’t checked my email for the past two minutes.