Social Media and Mental Health

So I got on Diaspora and dumped Facebook (and Google) because of all the paranoid geeky stuff about them manipulating news and spying on people and using all your stuff to take over the world.

I ran away from systemd on Linux because of all the paranoid geeky stuff I read on Diaspora about how Red Hat and Microsoft (and the NSA, FBI, Illuminati, and who knows, some alien race from the Eighth Dimension) are using systemd on Linux to take over the world and enslave Linux users.

As it turns out, in spite of Monstanto, GMOs, vaccines, the Left, the Right, Microsoft, Google, the Borg, Canonical, Red Hat, and systemd, my computer and my privacy are as safe as anyone who ever connects to the Internet on any device or platform can expect to be.

Who is manipulating who here? Who is really thriving on the fears of others here?

People told us to stop flying the American flag and stop showing our support for the military and first responders or else we could be targeted for violence, blacklisting, discrimination, etc. Did I take down my flag? Hell no. Let them come. I’ll gut them if they bring their threats beyond my front door.

And guess what else? I’ve got a systemd-equipped Linux distro running because it works better on my machine than the two systemd-free distros I tried. And y’know what else? I rejoined Facebook today. I’m using it with my eyes open and sensible precautions in place. I’ll keep my Diaspora but I’m making big changes there. All that paranoia and conspiracy stuff is not good for people who have ever been diagnosed with depression, whatever the cause.

All I can say now is,

I didn’t take my flag down. And I’m not avoiding systemd, Facebook, Google, or any other tool that serves me.

I’ll use the Internet wisely, my systemd-equipped Linux distro wisely, and Facebook wisely. Just like I do with my car, my firearms, my power tools, and anything else that requires a little thought and caution. I’m not throwing away all the perfectly good tools that make modern life so nice and so rich.

I’m through running away from phantoms. If and when the time comes to fight, against whoever the bad guys are, I’ll fight and die like a Klingon in glorious battle. In the meantime time, all you anti-vaccine, anti-Google, and anti-everything-that-isn’t-home-grown-or-home-made people can kiss my grits.

Hey, I just had a thought…. maybe my medicine is working now after all!

Non-Linux-Related, But Helpful: Birth, Life, and Death

I wrote this a few days after Mom died, and read it at her memorial service last Sunday. Response was so positive I thought I would share it here with my Technophobe Confessions readers as well:

If you could talk to a baby still in the womb, you might tell her:

I can’t begin to describe the world that is waiting for you! Things you cannot even imagine, like colors, smells, touch, the unmuffled sounds of music! Everything you know in your present world is just preparing you for life in my world, and it’s wonderful! Pretty soon, baby, you will be pushed through a tunnel and enter this amazing new world, and we are very anxious to meet you, to hold you, to see you, and to have you see us as we really are. We are preparing a special place just for you, with your own crib and warm cozy clothes and pictures on the walls – oh, you can’t understand this description at all, but trust me, it’s wonderful. Your room is almost ready, and we can hardly wait for you to join us here in our world!

Hearing this, a baby who has only known the warmth and comfort and familiarity of her floating, liquid home with all it’s comfort and the sound of Mom’s heartbeat, might reply, if she could:

No, thank you! I am fine right where I am! I like my cozy little home, it’s great right where I am, I don’t want it to change. What’s a tunnel? What is color? What are taste and smell and touch? Please don’t frighten me, just let me stay here. It’s so nice and cozy, and I am content to live and float right where I am, beneath that beating rhythm and the embrace of this home.

But inevitably, birth comes. The painful squeeze through the tunnel, pushed against our will and thrust into a world of cold, warmth, light, color, sound, sensation, smell, and the taste of mother’s milk. And y’know what? It ain’t so bad after all! It’s amazing! Indescribable and constantly new! Only the transition through that tunnel was hard, but we quickly forget our former life in the womb because this new world is so totally awesome!

Now the preacher is describing life in the next world, and it’s as impossible for us to understand as it was for us to understand this world when we were still being prepared for it. He says,

I can’t begin to describe the world that is waiting for us! Things we cannot even imagine, not like colors, smells, touch, music, but much more! Everything you know in your present world is just preparing you for life in God’s world, and it’s wonderful! Pretty soon, baby, you will be pushed through a tunnel and enter this amazing new world, and your Lord and His saints are very anxious to meet you, to hold you, to see you, and to have you see Him as He really is. Christ is preparing a special place just for us. Oh, you can’t understand this description at all, but trust me, it’s going to be wonderful. Your room is almost ready, and Jesus is waiting for you to join Him in His world!

And as before, we might say,

No thank you! I am fine right where I am! I like my cozy little home here and I don’t want that to change. Please don’t frighten me, just let me stay here. It’s so nice and cozy, and I am content to live right where I am, in the embrace of my own body, my own house, my job, my family. Must I really leave all this? Please let me stay, even if just a little while longer.

Death is just like birth – for those who have been born again. But only for those who are twice-born! Those who have not been born of the Spirit, but only born once, of “water and of blood,” as the scripture says, cannot look forward as I do, to a wonderful world beyond the tunnel.

My wife’s mother has just made that journey through the tunnel to the invisible world, untouched by the pain of the disease which ushered her out of this earthly home to the next. I bet she couldn’t find words to describe the life she has begun there, but the closest we can come to words are described in God’s Book. We shall see Him as He is! We shall be like Him! No more tears, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more loss, no more fear.

But this new world, and a place in it prepared by Christ Himself, only awaits those who are twice-born. That is, born of the Spirit, as well as having been born physically into this present world with it’s mortality and decay and sorrow and pain. But this New Birth is from Above, not from within. It is not something we can work for, conjure up, earn, or create with our own efforts. Just as with our physical existence, it is entirely the work of Another, the Author of all things. Without His work, we have no hope in this world nor in the next. Are you twice-born? Are you being prepared for the tunnel and the entrance into everlasting life and light? Or will you face the justice of a holy God without an Advocate who gives His own birthright to those who trust in Him?

If you are not sure, find a copy of God’s Book and read the little Gospel of John. It is the story, in short form, of how God, the Author of all life and all creation, rescues a people for Himself from the fallen race of Adam. Those who have faith in Christ alone for safety from the Father’s terrible justice against sin can be born from Above! I am happy to answer questions in the Comments section below.