Thursday, January 3, 2013

“Garbage In, Garbage Out Syndrome”

Recently I cited an old phrase, “garbage in, garbage out,” used by computer technicians to describe faulty data. No matter how good the computer, if it’s programmed improperly or software isn’t working as intended, you’ve got problems.

Sometimes it seems as if our American society – and perhaps the world in general – has become afflicted by what we could call the “garbage in, garbage out syndrome.” We all seem mad, sad, and feeling bad.

This “garbage” comes from many sources. We have violent TV shows, movies, video games and websites, as I referred to recently. But it’s even more pervasive than that.

We celebrate self-absorbed, narcissistic individuals on reality shows and crown them “celebrities,” making them famous for no other reason than they are…self-absorbed and narcissistic. Modern sitcoms and dramas feed us a continual intellectual diet of immorality, greed, selfishness and generally negative thinking.

What's on your mind - or more
accurately, what are you putting into it?
We listen to incessant talk shows on radio and TV, few of them uplifting or encouraging. Most are disparaging toward someone or something, heeding the philosophy, “If you can’t say something bad about somebody, don’t say anything at all.”

We watch cable news networks, where “experts” deliver gloom and doom 24/7, shouting down anyone that disagrees with their commentaries. If you’re not convinced the world is marching toward a cataclysmic end (erroneous, supposed Mayan predictions notwithstanding), you just need to watch more cable news.

Recently on, top trending “news items” were: the breakup of a celebrity athlete and his girlfriend; the Newtown, Conn. shooter’s haircut; misdeeds of another athlete; a country-western singer’s personal despair; conflict in the Middle East; a huge storm-related traffic pileup in the Midwest; and a woman stealing Christmas lights in the dark of night. The only “uplifting” article was about how good an aging actress looks in a bikini.

But it’s not just the fault of the media. How often do we find ourselves listening to gossip about coworkers, friends or acquaintances, and then passing that information to anyone willing to listen? Or read books with such dismal content that prescriptions for antidepressants should be included?

The Bible states, “As a (person) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Information we store in our minds not only affects our attitudes, but also our actions.

As we embark on this new adventure called 2013, maybe it’s time to turn over the proverbial new leaf by adopting the advice of Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.”

It’s easy to consider the negative, to find fault, to criticize and demean. What would happen if we each made a conscious attempt to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy? It could be revolutionary!

1 comment:

Alcides Oliveira Pinto said...

Excellent text, you are very inspired. A hug.