A Web of Superficiality?

I got around to thinking the other day… why is it that no-one seems to have time for anything anymore? I’m not talking about time, I’m talking about time. Let me explain by giving an example.

I work for quite a small company. We do a fair amount of bespoke development, i.e. software which people have specifically asked us to write (rather than a product, which is made by us and then marketed to whoever may want it). This is all well and good. The problem is, we have to churn them out at such a rate that I always feel under constant time pressure. It’s not as bad as it sounds, i.e. I’m not working to tight schedules all the time, but it does mean that we don’t really take the time to really understand something before we embark upon it. Everyone wants their application in as short a time as possible, and because of that shortcuts get taken. Now, I’m not totally against taking shortcuts, but — they should be the exception rather than the rule!

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Anyway, the upshot is that often the requirements don’t get specified sufficiently, meaning that we end up having to do quite a bit of work changing the application once it has been ‘completed’. So much so, in fact, that one particular application has taken a whole year’s worth of modification before our clients went live with it. Granted, that is the way some public sector organisations work in terms of red tape and getting it signed off in a production environment, but nevertheless that’s still an awful long time.

The subject was also on my mind recently when I was looking at the chapter of the Moore Course for this week. I basically went through it in an hour or so, not going into very much detail, but briefly thinking about the questions and reading the material. I could have spent a lot longer on it. This also applies to reading the Bible… I’m not sure what any of my blog readers do, but I tend to read it for ten or fifteen minutes every day, not really taking anything in. We have a “quick nuggets of wisdom” mentality whereby we want to read the Bible and get a little pearl of wisdom for the day, not to actually study it and gain something over a period of time which is much more valuable than a daily pearl of wisdom.

These days we have so much information aimed at our brains, like a firehose aimed at a teacup (to borrow an analogy from Dogbert). The only way we can cope is by getting more and more superficial… I was thinking, does this mentality pervade any other aspects of our lives? Relationships? With each other, with God? “Yes, God, you can have that five minutes of my time, but I can’t give you any more than that!” I wonder what Paul would have thought….

I am worried that the society and culture we live in is becoming all about image rather than substance. Speed is valued more than thoroughness. Short-term gain, long-term loss. If things continue the way they are, I’m not sure whether any of us will be able to claim that we have “lives” at all, we will be so busy trying to maintain our fake relationships and do things at work without really getting to grips with them…

Apologies for the mildly depressing nature of this post, but I thought it might be food for thought at least 🙂

2 thoughts on “A Web of Superficiality?

  1. Hmm, some interesting points there Phill. I have to admit in my line of work too there is a temptation to just rush in and create a web site in very little time, but you do end up spending loads of time tweaking to make the client happy. I now try as best I can to clearly set out the targets at the beginning of a project – it means that initial phase is slightly longer, but the actual development side then normally takes far less time.

    I know what you mean about this having parallels with the way we approach the Bible. I’ve been working my way through the Bible this year, aiming to get all the way through it from start to finish. It’s really helped me get a better idea of what actually happened in the Old Testament, but I do also feel that because I’ve been trying to cover so much ground that I’ve glossed over certain parts of it. I’m reading more for the historical background than to really improve my relationship with God. I guess this is where you have to be sensitive to your own needs, to spend some quality time with God on Sundays, in home groups, in personal prayer and worship. I suppose it could also be said that we have a lifetime to get to grips with it all, but on the other hand we don’t know how much “life” we’ve got left… scary thought!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts Matthew 🙂 Doing the Bible in a Year can be useful (I decided to try and do it this year as well), but I’m not sure whether I’d want to do it again in the near future! I might try and focus in on a particular area of scripture such as the gospels next year. What it has been good for is disciplining me to read my Bible every day!

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