The current trend in our postmodern culture is toward image based communication.
Just think about any major company or product. Most of them don’t show the whole name of the company, they either have a few letters or just a logo – an image, see the image below as an example. Most major brands we can identify by their logo or first letter due to the font / style.
However, in this prevailing image culture, this changes our thinking, images aren’t good at articulating arguments, categories or abstract ideas. They present concrete realities (regardless of how much they have been airbrushed!)
Images can speak louder than words
The Words ‘Poverty’s Child’ are Propositional & Sequential, Rational and linear (L brain), It is Abstraction without Experience.
The picture below is Presentational & Holistic, It is Intuitive & Non-linear (R brain), It shows us a Concrete representation of experience.
Another example would be the new (imported) concept in UK of the televised political debate. – The local government candidates are voted upon not on their merits or policy pledges, but more on how well the leader of their party – broadly not voted for directly by the voter – comes across as a public debater & arguer! It’s becoming a subjective, intuitive evaluation of the image we see of the person as opposed to careful, left-brain analysis and evaluation of what they are putting across.
I believe in the future, this will be remembered the age of electronic culture, the age of the image and of technology. The overwhealming likelihood is that the display screen will become the ultimate relic of the electronic age. We can’t get away from them, they invade our homes, cars, pockets. We are addicted to the flickering pixels of the backlit or projected computer display screen.
So, what are the lasting effects of electronic culture?
Lets examine it with the McLuhan analysis tool.
What does electronic culture enhance?
Intensifies ‘right brain’ encounter with God, encourages a corporate approach to faith, increases reliance on intuition and experience in ‘knowing God’
What does electronic culture reverse into?
Relativism, reverses capacity for abstract thought and critical reasoning.
What does electronic culture retrieve?
Eastern orthodox & Catholic spirituality – contemplative icons & the ‘story’ aspect of the Gospel. Jesus’ centrality to faith.
What does electronic culture obsolesce?
Belief in metanarrative, belief in conversion being a one-time event, the role of abstract propositional faith and the full impact of Paul’s letters.
Clearly here we are not saying that electronic culture removes completely the impact of Paul’s letters, more that it changes our perception of the meaning / use / importance of the letters.
I believe that culture and the way people receive messages is changing, the trend from the onset of modernity – the age of the printing press – was from an experiential, visual, communal, holistic model to an individualistic, highly rational concept of the gospel. With the continual march into and through post-modernity, we are seeing the trend reverse towards a much more communal, experiential concept again.
How do we feel about the possibility of our methods and thus our message changing due to this paradime shift in thinking as a result of the postmodern, image-based, electronic, technological culture in which we are living and our children are growing up accustomed to?
Comments on the above question please!