One Hundred and Forty Characters


This picture of a Nun standing next to a horse in a barn was found in a box of old negatives at my Mom’s house. I have no background on the picture at all, no idea why it was taken, who the Nun was or who owned the horse or barn, or the circumstances that came to pass that brought this horse and Nun together. Regardless, the picture holds great interest to me. At present I find it interesting because, based on today’s mainstream society, it cannot be explained using 140 characters or less. Indulge me for just a moment (or however long it takes to read the following 1467 characters).

I’m wondering if social media has hampered our attention spam. Memes are the main form of communication and even that, more often than not, are the words of others. You saw it on Facebook, liked what it said and decided it said what you wanted to say. Back in the day when people actually read books the headlines on a newspaper was meant to grab your attention. The follow-up article gave you all the details. We now limit ourselves to the headlines and care not for the details. The headlines tell us all we want to know. Details provided by cable news outlets are based on the opinion of others and we have relied on the opinion of others for so long we are no longer able to form our own. We claim our opinion is our own but it really is not… record your opinion and play it back, then listen to your favorite news outlet—you may be surprised at what you hear.

We have also lost our ability to debate. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Never discuss politics or religion.” Two of the most important topics and we are unable to discuss them because we can no longer allow our ears to hear an opinion that might demonstrate that one of us is wrong. We see it daily—family members turning their backs on other family members because they disagree with a political view. Lines are drawn in the sand, words are said, and neither side will back down because both are convinced they are right and the other is dead wrong; so wrong in fact we will cut all ties.

We have reduced our attention span to 140 characters or less, and of course we need a picture to catch anyone’s attention. We are giving control over to a puppet master. At what point are we going to realize we are both right and we are both wrong, and we both have something the other needs—a realization the puppet master wishes kept in the dark.

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