Silence and shouting
Today the Vatican published Pope Benedict XVI’s message for world communications day 2012. In it he underlines the importance of silence in the face of the ‘surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive’. Silence in digital communications sphere, like white space on a printed page, allows us to appreciate more fully what is there. Who could argue with his call for Christians to ‘become heralds of hope and salvation, witnesses of that love which promotes human dignity and builds justice & peace’ ?
For those who are maxed out on their data feeds and drowning in a soup of news and opinion these words could not have come at a better time. However, we must also guard against a reflection which turns to pianism. Turning off the data tap in order to serve the world better when it flows again is one thing. Turning it off simply for the sake of a quiet life is quite another – and definitely not what the Pope is calling for.
On the same day as the Pope’s address, Tearfund showed me their latest video – the caterpillar effect. Sometimes the butterfly must emerge from the cosiness of its cocoon, flap its wings and make some noise: