An Artist Wrestling with Technological Magic

By Doug Klatt

Bustling, hustling, doing, choosing,
At frenetic pace we move
Changing, lazy, crazy,
Spirit hazy
Backward and forward we groove
Open a screen, search for meaning
Take me away..........we cry
Whisk me away..........we sigh
From this pain, From this craving
From the rain in my soul, for I need saving
I lurch, I search
I work, but what do I need? 
What really feeds me?
Why do I grieve? 
Why do I seathe?
Only Grace, only Grace helps me truly see
So please, please help me ride Heaven’s White Steed: 
For: “The Lord is my shepherd! I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.”

canstockphoto8635325-Shepherd-watching-flock2How many of us crave these green pastures? I yearn on many a day just to lie down in a green pasture. But instead of seeking the green pasture of Grace, we search, we crave. Currently we live in a culture which facilitates our cravings more and more easily.

With a click of the button we move to another country or experience a wondrous thing somebody is doing on YouTube. Yes, technology is wondrous! Oh, truly it is magic! Nothing less than magic and our culture is enamored with it. No, it is addicted to the magic! 

imagesYet for what? I repeat, for what? One day all the technology will be scattered in heaps on the ground. Cities will lie in ruin like some scene out of WALL-E, that Pixar movie about the robot that never dies and wanders the great American cities lying in useless rubble on the poisoned soil. But this stark and depressing vision is not the whole story. There is something more. Much more! We will be long dead in body but our souls will live on! And—live on as never before. Wow! Staggering thought! Hopeful and frightening at the same time. Sobering for want of a better word.

The fact that our souls live on and on eternally, must guide our every thought, our every action. If not, then our souls go astray. Maybe only slightly at first, but in a culture moving at the speed of light, the tendency to go astray can happen at dangerous speed.

I need this new laptop computer, or this new iPhone, or this new car? I need to visit this website or watch this video. But for what? The question for what? becomes more and more important as the technology moves faster and faster and becomes more and more powerful. The lapse time between what we want and what we can have becomes shorter and shorter. Perilously short for those with short attention spans. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and the other great technological magicians of this century have unleashed a force for Good or Evil more powerful than any nuclear bomb.

Make a wish, Make a wish
and it will be fulfilled
Make a wish, make a wish
But do you have the courage to stand still?
Ask the question, Who makes me breathe?
And..................Be careful what you wish for
Be careful of that magic door
The magic door that can open up a world with a mere wave of the hand
Magic making no demands
Ai’t it grand
But be careful what you wish for!

My children have asked me many a time. Do you believe in magic? I have to answer. Yes, I use it everyday. My puny laptop computer, now five years old is faster and more powerful than anything NASA had forty years ago. Mind boggling! Do I believe in magic? I do—– and the magic is as black or white as anything to be found in Tolkien or Lewis.

There is magic that allows us to whisk along a highway at 70 miles an hour. Fly through the air at six hundred miles per hour. Wow!  But cars can kill when misused, planes can level skyscrapers when guided by the misguided. There is magic that allows a composer to hear his piece performed on a computer. A dream come true for me and you. But the magic comes at a price. Always, there is the choice before us looming there like the great Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do I partake of the fruit or not?

magicians_work_1479As Chesterton or C.S. Lewis once commented, I forget which one. Let’s just call him ChesterLewis. When this great mind was challenged by an opponent saying that “Religion is akin to magic and superstition,” ChesterLewis countered, “No, actually, it is technology that is akin to magic,” for it is pure power. The modern man often seeks the power of technology for its own sake just as the magician sought the power of magic for its own end.

So, yes, I believe in magic. Technology is that pure power, pure magic. But the power can be impure too! The magic can be black or the magic can be white! The magic can be dark, the magic can be light! Properly directed, this magic can be used to whisk us to the Good. But this is a tricky thing, a rocky road often littered with thorns.  How can it be done? It seems as difficult as having a camel pass through the eye of a needle. To put it bluntly, it can’t be done by us.

This thought is both depressing yet greatly reassuring at the same time. We cannot do it on our own. With all of our wondrous manmade magic, we cannot do it. On our own, pornography runs rampant. On our own, abortion murders like a great invisible Hiroshima. On our own, the Twin Towers of our pride are toppled by our desires to control and assert and dominate. Yet, we also don’t have to do it on our own. For, what is impossible for man is possible for God. And, that my friends………. is the really Good News!


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