Ghost Machine by Jon Foreman

computer-addiction-8

What is technology doing to us? Are we becoming so much dependent on it, that we can’t live without it, that we can’t come out from the virtual worlds we are in and go out into the real world? Jon Foreman uses clever word play as he explores what technology does to us, and how it’s very similar to what sins does to us.

 

All hail the siren of our time

I’m possessed when she passes by

She drains the best years of my life

She makes promises she could never keep

 

Ain’t it a ghost machine

Makin’ a ghost out of me?

After all the lies I’m surprised that I still believe

I swear she’s gonna make a dead man out of me

My ghost machine

 

Father, forgive me ‘cause I know

Exactly how I spread my soul

My idolatry’s in the pocket of my coat

I make promises I could never keep

 

Ain’t it a ghost machine?

Ain’t she a ghost machine?

I’m still haunted by the faces on a screen

I swear she’s gonna make a dead man out of me

 

‘Do you know yourself?’

I heard a Voice call out

‘We define ourselves by the things we can’t live without.’

‘I could knock it,

‘I could quit it anytime.’

But my ghost is a drug,

My ghost is a drug.

She’s in my blood

And I can’t give her up.

 

The clock, the altar of our time

The thought, the temple of our mind

And I’ve been sprinklin’ the blood of most my life

On the Altars of my ghost machines.

 

Ain’t she my Enemy?

My Ancient Liberty?

The gods of all the empty promises that I believed

She haunts me with a laughter in my dreams

I swear she’s gonna make a dead man out of me

… my ghost machine.

 

From Jon Foreman’s song “Ghost Machine,” from The Wonderlands: Shadows EP, released 2015. All rights reserved.

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The Facebook Generation

millennials (blog-sap.com)

Nearly 2 billion people in the world use Facebook. Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

As of March 2016, ang mundo ay mayroon nang tinatayang populasyon na 7.4 billion.1 And as of December 2015, Mayroon nang 1.59 billion active users ang social media network giant na Facebook.2 Ibig-sabihin nito, mas marami pa ang nag-set-up ng kanilang Facebook accounts, bagaman ang iba ay hindi ito aktibong nagagamit. That is roughly 22%, o higit sa 1/4, ng buong populasyon ng mundo. At patuloy pa itong dumarami.

Ang pinakasikat na video-sharing website, ang Youtube, ay ginagamit, as of 2014, ng 1 billion users, at umaabot na sa 4 billion ang bilang ng mga views ng mga videos nito per day.3

Ang isa pang social media site, ang Twitter, ay lumampas na sa 500 million ang bilang ng mga users, at 320 million ang aktibo kada buwan, as of December 2015,4 na tiyak na dumami pa, dahil sa pagsikat ng ALDUB loveteam sa maraming mga bansa simula noong July 2015. Mas marami ang gumagamit ng photo sharing website na Instagram (acquired by Facebook), na ayon sa kanilang press release, ay may 400 million-plus monthly active users, pagkatapos lamang ng halos anim na taon nang ito’y i-launch.5

Ang Wikipedia, isang online encyclopedia, ayon sa isang New York Times newswriter, ay may 500 million unique visitors kada buwan.6 Ang Google, ang pinakasikat na search engine sa buong mundo, ay may 1.17 billion unique searchers as of 2013,at kada buwan ay lumalagpas sa 100 billion ang mga searches.7

And there is no slowing down. Bagaman may mga reports na milyung-milyong mga users ang iniwan na ang paggamit ng kanilang mga social media accounts,8, 9, 10 na-o-offset ito ng pagdagdag ng mga bagong users kada buwan.

I’ve decided to conduct a survey in my city, Trece Martires, Cavite, to know how technology and social media are doing. (Kasama ko si Jay Tolentino sa survey na ito.) Naniniwala ako na ang lungsod na ito ay salamin ng maraming mga lungsod sa buong bansa at maging maraming mga lungsod sa buong mundo, especially sa mga developing countries tulad ng sa atin. (Tiyak na sa mga developed countries tulad ng USA at Japan, mas malaki ang magiging kaibahan ng resulta.)

From March 3-6, ako ay naka-acquire ng 100 respondents sa aking survey, with ages ranging from 13-71 years old. They have different backgrounds: may mga estudyante sa kanila (high school and college), professionals and workers, employed and unemployed, singles and marrieds, Christians and nonChristians. Mayroon akong mga nakausap sa kalye, sa malls (as a working employee or a shopper), sa bahay, at iba’t ibang pampublikong lugar. All in all, I have surveyed 0 children (ages 0-12), 38 teenagers (ages 13-19), 55 young adults (ages 20-39), 5 mature adults (ages 40-59), and 2 senior adults (60 and above). So if you want an age-based survey, my survey wouldn’t be a proper reference.

Sa isangdaan na aking na-survey, 97 ang nagsabing mayroon silang at least one gadget, most of them cellular or smartphones. (It still amazes me na may tatlong nagsabing wala silang phone, all of them coming from mature adults.) 42 sa kanila ang may higit sa isa, most of them having a tablet or a laptop as second device.

Nang tanungin ko sila kung gaano karaming oras ang kanilang ginugugol sa kanilang mga gadgets kada araw, ang pinakamarami ay nasa magkabilang extremes. 23 people said they use their gadgets more than 1 to 3 hours a day, and an equal number said they used them from 11 to 19 hours a day. 9 lamang ang nagsasabing gumagamit lamang sila nito ng ilang minuto hanggang isang oras, 19 ang nagsasabing 4-6 hours a day, 16 ang nagsasabing 7-10 hours sila gumagamit daily, but I was amazed na may 7 na nagsabi na ginagamit nila ito round the clock (or 20-24 hours). Bagaman higit pa rin sa kalahati ang nasa lower end (from minutes to 6 hours), malaki pa ring figure ang nasa higher end ng usage (47%). Honestly, I belong to the higher end.

When I asked them what apps they used when using their gadgets, 85 out of 97 (88%) ang gumagamit ng Facebook. Other apps frequently used are Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Google, and Wattpad, but in decreasing frequency.

When I asked for other purposes of use, 61% said they use it for watching videos and movies, while 38% use it for games (madalas banggitin ang Clash of Clans). Mayroon pa ring gumagamit nito exclusively for calling and texting (7%), ngunit nagulat ako na mas marami ang hindi na ito ginagamit sa kanilang phones (or hindi binabanggit na gayon, meaning they take it for granted). Iba pang layon ng paggamit ay research (citing Google), typing, reading, listening to music, video calling (Skype), and dictionary, but in a much smaller degree.

Makikita natin na ang tatlong pinakamalaking paggamit ay Facebook usage (which has chat, news, etc.), video-watching and gaming.

Tinanong ko sila kung pagkagising nila ay gumagamit na sila nito (bukod sa alarm use), at 46 sa kanila (halos-kalahati) ang nagsabing oo. (Hindi ko sinali rito ang mga nagsabi ng minsan.) Nang tanungin ko kung kinakatulugan na nila ang paggamit nito, 40 ang nagsabi ng oo (bukod pa sa mga nagsabi ng minsan). This means that roughly half of these people make these devices the first and last thing of their days.

Then I came up with a clincher question: Do you have any spiritual activities, like praying, Bible reading or church-going? I am about to get amazed, dahil ang nagsabi na wala silang devices (3 of 100) ay sila rin ang mga walang spiritual activities whatsoever. Nagulat lang ako dahil I suppose na ang mga taong walang ganito ang may mas maraming oras para magsimba, manalangin o magbasa ng Biblia, even ang maglingkod sa Dios. Ngunit lahat ng sinurvey kong Baptists like me (13 in all), all have devices. Some who professed to be active members of the Roman Church and INC (by that I mean church-going), all have techno-gadgets. Dalawa lang sa mga nagsabing mayroon silang gadget ang nagsabing wala silang spiritual activities. Ang mga taong ito na may gadgets actually have a spiritual life, even if it’s little.

Ngunit ang papuri ko ay hanggang doon lamang. Dahil kumpara sa kanilang gadget usage, nasa isang oras lamang ang pinakamalaking nagugugol ng karamihan sa kanila para sa Dios. (I am not biased, but the ones who are using more of their time for God are my fellow Baptists, who are regular church goers, frequent pray-ers, Bible-sharers and many of them, choir members.) Marami sa kanila ay nagsabi ng “minsan” ukol sa regularity ng mga spiritual activities, at ang mga nagsabi ng “palagi” ay halos-lahat patungkol lamang sa pagdadasal, which are actually less time-consuming for them. Many are citing their workload or their studies, ngunit kung titingnan ang oras na ginugugol nila sa gadgets at kung para saan nila ito ginagamit (nakita natin ang top 3 usages), I know they can be doing more.

May ilan akong mga natutunan sa pag-aaral na ito, which I will share with you.

Ang dami ng oras na ginagamit mo ang iyong gadget ay singhalaga ng kung para saan mo ito ginagamit. Maaaring sabihin ng iba na porket marami kang ginagamit na oras para sa mga ito at social media, ay sinasayang mo ang oras mo, ngunit ang konklusyon na iyon ay kulang. Ang pagiging makabuluhan o sayang ng oras ay nakadepende sa kung saan mo ito ginagamit. Gadgets and social media are just instruments, in themselves they are not good or bad—they are neutral. It’s how you use them that matters.

I will admit, sa aking calculation I spend 13 hours a day on gadgets. Gayunpaman, most of them I use for making publications and writing articles like this one. I use my laptop frequently for research for those articles. Gumagamit ako ng Facebook, ngunit madalas ko itong ginagamit para mag-post para sa CYPA Paper Ministries at Capitol Bible Baptist Church pages, bukod pa sa mga helpful posts ko sa aking timeline. I upload photos and videos, sometimes. I do look at posts of friends and pages, and I like them, sometimes comment, sometimes share, ngunit maliit lamang iyon na oras. I use Twitter and Instagram, but just minutes (tumitingin lang ako ng mga news updates, specially ALDUB updates). I use Internet frequently to read articles. I don’t play games. Ni hindi ako mahilig sa chat (I always have my Facebook chat offline.) Kung mayroon mang marami-rami akong oras na ginugugol, iyon ay sa panonod ng movies and TV shows, and I actually pick what I watch carefully—I still want it to be a learning experience.

Nagiging sayang lamang ang oras na ginagamit nating maraming oras kung iyon ay puro lamang sa ating entertainment, which is obviously reflected by the top three usages. People use technology to communicate and to be entertained, na hindi naman masama kung kaunting oras lang ng isang tao ang ginugugol, ngunit ang paggamit natin nito exclusively for those things in a long period of time, that—that is what we should call wasting of time.

Kung ginagamit mo ang iyong gadgets para lang sa Facebook, panonood at paglalaro, at sa malaking panahon, sinasayang mo ang iyong oras.

Hindi rin kailangan na magkaroon ka ng gadget para magawa mong sayangin ang iyong oras. Ang katotohanan na nakakapagdasal at nakakapagsimba pa rin ang mga taong may gadget (however small time they give) ay may ibig-sabihin. Ang tatlong taong na-survey ko na walang gadget o cellphones ay walang oras para magsimba, manalangin, o magbasa ng Bible. How could that be? Their answer: work. Ang isa ay tindera, ang isa ay tricycle driver, at ang isa ay grocer. Ang trabaho ay maaaring makabuluhang oras para sa maraming tao, ngunit para sa akin, at ayon sa sinasabi ng Biblia, all that counts is what you do for God. So technically, ang pinakanagsasayang ng oras ay hindi ang mga gamit-nang-gamit ng gadgets (at hindi ko sila kinukunsinti, whatsoever), ngunit ang mga trabaho-nang-trabaho at wala nang panahon sa Dios.

Ikaw na isang Facebook at social media user, ano ang ginagawa mo tuwing naroroon ka? Ikaw na nanonood ng videos at movies sa iyong gadgets, anu-ano ang iyong mga pinapanood? Ikaw na isang gamer, are you becoming a better, more intelligent and more godly person because of the game you’re playing? The time you spend is as important as the things you spend it on.

 

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

—Ephesians 5:16

 

Huwag mong sayangin ang iyong oras. Do things that are worthwhile. At para sa akin, ang pinakamakabuluhang oras sa iyong buhay ay ang mga oras na ginagamit mo para sa Dios.

 

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

—1 Corinthians 10:31

 

Hindi mo kailangan maging pastor para magamit mo ang iyong oras para sa Kanya. Ang kailangan mo ay ang ibigay sa Kanya ang iyong sarili bilang isang buhay na hain, at sundin ang lahat ng ipag-uutos Niya sa’yo.

This Facebook generation can still be people who uses their time wisely, people who spend time for God.

The images above are the actual survey forms I used where I based this article.

NOTES

1 “World Population Clock,” http://www.worldometers.info/worldpopulation. | 2 “Facebook Climbs To 1.59 Billion Users And Crushes Q4 Estimates With $5.8B Revenue,” http://techcrunch.com/2016/01/27/facebook-earnings-q4-2015. | 3 “By the Numbers: 130+ Amazing Youtube Statistics,” DMR, http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/youtube-statistics. | 4 “Twitter Usage | Company Facts,” https://about.twitter.com/company. | 5 “Press News,” https://www.instagram.com/press. | 6 Cohen, Noam (February 9, 2014). “Wikipedia vs. the Small Screen,” The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/technology/wikipedia-vs-the-small-screen.html?_r=0. | 7 “By the Numbers: 100 Amazing Google Statistics and Facts,” DMR, http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-a-gigantic-list-of-google-stats-and-facts. | 8 “Facebook and Twitter experience year of declining popularity,” YouGov UK, June 5, 2014, https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/06/05/facebook-and-twitter-experience-year-declining-pop. | 9 “More Than 11 Million Young People Have Fled Facebook Since 2011,” TIME, January 25, 2014, http://business.time.com/2014/01/15/more-than-11-million-young-people-have-fled-facebook-since-2011. | 10“Survey: Nearly 4 in 10 Women Have Decreased or Stopped Using Social Media,” Print in the Mix, March 2013, http://printinthemix.com/Fastfacts/Show/691.