Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Third Tower of Babel

A dear friend encouraged me to enter the twenty-first century ocean and start a blog. I laughed nervously at the proposition, thought about it, and then sent it to the back burners for possible later consideration. Sensing my reluctance and seeing that my book was finally published, she gently but determinedly coaxed me into the cyber waters. And before I knew it I was swimming; and, well, here I am blogging onwards. We all have my friend to thank for my intrusion into this rarefied world of e-conversation--the third tower of Babel--and I genuinely thank you, Andrea. You're the best.
Perhaps you didn't know there have been two towers of Babel and we have recently built a third. The first tower we learned portended a unified front of an insidious and rogue humanity--extremely dangerous in its unbridled genius. All praise goes to the Sovereign Lord who quenched those sparks before they flared in to a conflagration that, in all likelihood, would have cremated our race. As we know from the Biblical account (Gen 11:1-9), God did this by simply muddling communication.
I never really thought about the second tower of Babel until my wife urged me to try some light reading once and awhile for my own sanity's sake. So I read Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame. In it, Hugo tells of how for centuries the architecture of the cathedrals in every community had all the important stories of Mankind carved into their walls and stained into their window glass so that the illiterate populace could remember who, what and why they are. But large stone edifices don't easily fit into one's pocket, so information remained isolated. Then came the second tower of Babel when Gutenberg invented the printing press. No doubt that new information highway linked vast swatches of both land and cultures and contributed in no small part to the explosion of Scholasticism into the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, and on to the Modern Age. This Big Bang wrought great progress and gains in quality of life along with a vastly disproportionate dose of despair and depravity. It seems that Mankind elevates itself only so it can more easily kill itself off.
At the closing moments of the twentieth century, when the smoke had cleared temporarily and Mankind was able to collect itself, it lost no time in constructing a third tower of Babel. This new structure--the Internet--easily eclipses and exceeds the potential of that first tower of long ago, yet Mankind has changed little in all that time. One can but wonder if the Majestic, Sovereign, Mighty, Eternal Triune God--the Great and Holy I AM--has conferred in the council of the Godhead: "They have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." Lord have mercy; save us from ourselves.
Okay, okay, I'll heed my wife's advice and break out my old Hardy Boys.