I’m sure many of us know at least one line out of the Christian Bible (KJV) and I’m fairly sure it’s this one from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. I’d also guess many are not aware it is a biblical apothegm. It’s chapter 13, verse 11: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Now, those of us who have been to a wedding or watched The Wedding Crashers likely know much of the text prior to verse 11. So, here is the full chapter but from the Geneva Bible. Why Geneva? Why not? Or, because it was the Bible that Milton and Shakespeare read and I believe it was the choice of Emily Dickinson 250 years later. Bear with the extra letters and the “u” and “v” switcheroo (oh and “i” is “j”). Surely you will hear a Shakespearean Sonnet in the below. Or, again, if you’ve been to a wedding you might hear Sonnet 116.
Geneva Bible (1599): 1 Corinthians 13
1 Though I speake with the tongues of men and Angels, and haue not loue, I am as sounding brasse, or a tinkling cymbal
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2 And though I had the gift of prophecie, and knewe all secrets and all knowledge, yea, if I had all faith, so that I could remooue mountaines and had not loue, I were nothing.
3 And though I feede the poore with all my goods, and though I giue my body, that I be burned, and haue not loue, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Loue suffreth long: it is bountifull: loue enuieth not: loue doeth not boast it selfe: it is not puffed vp:
5 It doeth no vncomely thing: it seeketh not her owne things: it is not prouoked to anger: it thinketh not euill:
6 It reioyceth not in iniquitie, but reioyceth in the trueth:
7 It suffreth all things: it beleeueth all things: it hopeth all things: it endureth all things.
8 Loue doeth neuer fall away, though that prophecyings be abolished, or the tongues cease, or knowledge vanish away.
9 For we knowe in part, and we prophecie in part.
10 But when that which is perfect, is come, then that which is in part, shalbe abolished.
11 When I was a childe, I spake as a childe, I vnderstoode as a childe, I thought as a childe: but when I became a man, I put away childish thinges.
12 For nowe we see through a glasse darkely: but then shall wee see face to face. Nowe I know in part: but then shall I know euen as I am knowen.
13 And nowe abideth faith, hope and loue, euen these three: but the chiefest of these is loue.
Perhaps I will seem to be stretching when I tell you I’m offering this as a comment on Sarah’s post centering on the changing forms of communication. But, it is my contention, and it has been my contention for as long as I stopped being a child, that the society that suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous technology has not and cannot “grow up.” (As an aside, note that all wisdom literature asserts that one should be “as a child” in confronting the world. This is a childlike perspective–a sense of wonder at the glory and mystery of the world external to the self. Western culture encourages the opposite of this–a childish stance wherein the world is only an extension of the self, serves the self.)
Growing up, finally, is about confronting your demise. You must understand you are destined to be turned by the worms.
Technology, and by that I mean any and all products of man (for it is male’s childishness that has brought us to this) that replace the motive power of the body and the agency of the will or mind, whispers of immortality by way of defeating the cold facts of organic decomposition.
To be, we insist, evading the lament and question offered next, or not to be. Which is not a question finally but a fact. We are not to be.
**Up Next: Minecraft and the blindness of the status quo life.
I’m very much looking forward to your next up!
This childishness, seems to me, to be also very much born in our American Idol culture; instant fame isn’t reflective, it’s greedy, it’s self-indulgent. It’s not really about how much talent America’s got, it’s about gambling, getting lucky and reaching a “judge” in the right way at the right moment.
Putting away childish things means abandoning this idea of instant/easy fame and glory, because it isn’t substantive. The most talented, passionate musicians are the ones with callouses on their hands more likely to be found teaching your children than idling waiting for their big break.
This isn’t the curiosity encouraged by literature and thinking, because that takes too much time, right? Are we too busy to even reread The Tortoise and The Hare? We take shortcuts everywhere now. Schools teach our kids to guesstimate math problems instead of asking them to actually write out a long division problem or memorize multiplication tables, reading is tailored to facilitate guessing the correct multiple choice answer on a standardized test.
But in light of your concluding point about technology trying to evade our earthly fate, and as I’ve heard you say before, we give the illusion of becoming smarter (collectively) while really becoming much, much more ignorant.