The recent Facebook ala Meta corporate identity change is akin for me to the Pandemic. I had hoped it would bring us together, but instead, it made things worse. Let me explain.’
The massive social network, (I use ‘social’ reluctantly) has been under fire for spreading misinformation, looking the other way with an increase in child sex trafficking, and a host of other issues. So yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, looked at the world he created with Facebook some 17 years ago and discovered it took the worst of us and made it, well worse. It was to bring us together. And, for a while anyway, it did! We shared photos and events and family and fun. Then, it all went to hell, and we used it for literal evil. We posted the worst of humanity and divided a nation. So he decided a change was needed and he bet on a next digital frontier called the metaverse. He committed to building a composite universe, melding online, virtual, and augmented reality worlds that people can seamlessly traverse. “You’re really going to feel like you’re there with other people,” Zuckerberg said. “You’re not going to be locked into one world or platform.” Wow. Just wow, but not as a positive.
The pandemic did the same thing. At the beginning we were forced to look at each other, sit and talk together (in person), stay at home, in lock down with those that we loved and had neglected for often years at a time. We finally discovered the most important things we already had after all. They were right there all along! It wasn’t about fame or fortune or even the size of our bank accounts that brought happiness. It was love and family and belonging to something more; something bigger than self. Then, the pandemic loosened – or we forced it to ahead of schedule out of our own selfishness – and we lost our way again. Here we are now, back into a negative universe that we created, and we alone are responsible for.
Yes, much like the Metaverse to come, we put away the things of family, and God, and people. We stopped serving the less fortunate and strayed away from church. We allowed our mental health to escape us as we shouted we won’t be duped any longer! We declared God dead and bought new cars and stopped our giving to the parish. We allowed our children to go rudderless again into a broken world, as we abandoned our baptismal covenant. We gave up on the future and railed against the wind as we spit into our own faces. We became a people centered, not on the things that ‘last or are eternal’, but rather on the fleeting and the perishable. We willingly chose chaff over wheat.
Now we wake up every day and curse the darkness and the political divide and the loss of family and friends and community, but rarely, if ever, do a thing to change. Instead, we selfishly walk away and think we can do without God. We think we are brave and enlightened, but we are foolish.
This coming Sunday we will gather – those who will – and pray for our dead and celebrate our living. We will hold fast to the teachings of Mother Church and believe in the Communion of Saints – the living and the dead – and we hold up small lights aglow to bring back a path for our lost and our young and the forgotten. No, we don’t denounce the future. We just know better. We know the truth.
We always had a way out; we just chose not to take it.