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The Book Of Jobs

I write in appreciation of Andrew Bacevich’s “Selling Our Souls” (August 12). Perhaps like him, I have felt alarm walking into a lifeless room full of young (and not so young) people adoring their phones and electronic pads, and I have sensed that something is terribly wrong here. As I read of Henry Adams’s dark vision of a dynamo-dominated world, I thought of the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix films, where humans are wired to a power grid by means of a spinal cable that powers the technology. That spinal cable would be nowhere near as efficient in accessing our central nervous systems as Apple’s iPhone, which wires our eyes and ears into the information grid. This raises idolatry to a new level, indeed. We become what we worship.

I also thought of Wendell Berry prophesying that technologies can destroy cultures as surely as they destroy environments. Instead of culture, we get culture wars, largely banal (cable news), but sometimes vivid, terrible, and tragic (Ireland’s Easter 1916, Germany’s Kristallnacht, or America’s 9/11).

I question only one part of the essay: “If the God of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament exists, then it must be he who wills this.” Must this de-humanizing reality truly be God’s will? As long as Jesus defines our new humanity, and the Holy Spirit “o’er the bent world broods,” don’t we have the freedom to love a different reality? I hope...

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