One of my favorite joys is to read with classical music on in the background. I find the music instrumental to my extended concentration.
I have a cheap phone with just enough storage to run basic functions. With no room for apps, I play music through YouTube. The problem is, while the music is playing, I am unable to use my phone for anything else.
If I check text messages or go on Facebook, the music stops.
I just read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, a series of letters from a senior demon to his nephew, describing the insidious ways to win men’s souls through a subtle guiding hand toward impure thoughts and unconscious habits. I find the concept of the devil, regardless of one’s faith, to be a lucid metaphor for human weakness, and this book has given me a new lens through which to view my own sub-optimal tendencies.
So one morning this week I stopped reading to pick up my phone. In an effort, I can only assume, to seek attention, I had embodied the exact type of action The Screwtape Letters described. In that moment, external gratification was more important than the music.
It is so easy to fall prey to our weaker nature. Technology offers so many readily accessible means with which to divert our attention. If we are not mindful, we easily squander our focus toward undeserving ends.
And this is the lesson.
When our actions are guided by weakness, the music stops.