Well, it’s not a fable, it’s true. Paul Miller’s offline year just ended. It’s a fascinating and delightfully human story about a man with high expectations of finding out how the internet is corrupting his soul, killing his body, wasting his life.
And sure, the first few weeks sounds amazing, filled with reading books and outdoor exercise and personal enrichment. But there’s a reason New Year’s resolutions rarely last.
I actually think you should go read Paul’s story for yourself (which is why this is a short post). But before you do, consider this. Paul’s story has nothing to do with faith, but I think it is a parable for those of us trying to walk a spiritual path.
Much of my life, I have spent trying to be more holy, more righteous, just a better person. I have attempted this by buying into various systems, steps or rules to accomplish this: Don’t do this! Don’t look at that! Don’t go there!
And you know what? Paul Miller discovered what everyone discovers (if we are honest with ourselves.)
That it doesn’t matter what external regulation we obey, what shackles we place on ourselves, how many rules we follow or how “religious” we are. We are still the same people inside with the same problems. A few months ago, I wrote about why drinking, gambling, guns and porn are not problems. Paul Miller proves my point exactly. Paul discovered that the internet was not his problem. His problem was Paul Miller. Paul Miller was killing himself, not the internet.
Have you ever blamed external factors for your problems? What did you find out by trying to follow a bunch of rules?