Sunday, May 4, 2008

Something I Like From a Book I'm Reading...


Actually, I'm re-reading this book, The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann 1973-1983. I was struck by this passage the first time I read it, and I was struck again the second time. This was written more than 30 years ago, and I think it might be more true today-- with computers, the internet, cable television, cell phones, IPods, Blackberries, etc.-- than it was then:

"...conversation with L. today about the tension in our lives: school, seminary, everwhere; about how exhausting that tension is. I am quite convinced that the fundamental error of contemporary man is his belief that thanks to technology-- (telephone, xerox, etc.)-- he can squeeze into a given time much more than before, whereas it's really impossible. Man becomes the slave of his ever-growing work. There is a need for rhythm, detachment, slowness. Why can't students grasp all they're taught? Because they don't have time to become conscious of, to come back to what they heard and let it really enter their minds. A contemporary student registers knowledge but does not assimilate it; therefore that knowledge does not produce anything. A downpour of rain is immeasurably less useful for a drought than a thin, constant drizzle! But we are all the time under a thunderous downpour of information, reports, knowledge, discussions, etc. And all of these flow around us, never sticking to us, immediately pushed away by the next deluge."

(Alexander Schmemann, September 30, 1977)