MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Coming up next, a preview of Listening In. This week, host Warren Smith talks with author and speaker Brett McCracken. He’s an elder in his church and is also a senior editor at The Gospel Coalition.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: McCracken remembered as a kid learning about the “food pyramid” in health class. And how the daily elements of a healthy physical diet ought to include a variety of good foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy. That inspired him to develop a similar idea for good spiritual health. Let’s listen in.
BRETT MCCRACKEN: I thought about the food pyramid from my childhood and how that was such a helpful rubric kind of visual aid for guiding us to healthy sources of food food groups, for a diet that would make us physically healthy. And so I thought, what if I played off of that to create like a wisdom pyramid that functioned in the same way by pointing people to sources, in this case sources of information or knowledge, that are conducive to a healthy spiritual life.
So I basically scratched it out on a napkin and kind of how I would create a wisdom pyramid, if I were to do that. And I had a designer friend of mine, graphic designer, make it look nice. And people really responded to it and kind of went viral on social media, ironically, given that social media is the fats, oils and sweets category of the wisdom pyramid. So that’s where it started.
WARREN SMITH: Let’s look a little bit at the unhealthy diet that has gotten us to the place. You say, basically, that today we eat too much, we eat too fast, and we eat only what tastes good to us. You call that information gluttony. Can you say a little bit more about this idea of information gluttony and how eating too much too fast, and only what we like, is a problem?
MCCRACKEN: Yeah, I was helped with just thinking through this parallel to eating food and our physical health and different ways that bad eating habits make us sick. And I think it’s actually some pretty close parallels to bad habits of information intake, that also make us sick in similar ways to eating habits.
So the gluttony piece is, you know, obviously, when you eat too much food, when you’re a glutton with food, you’re going to get sick, it’s going to be bad for your health. And the same is true with information. And we live in an age of just an insane amount of information. It’s really mind boggling. How much information is at our fingertips. Literally, you pull out your smartphone, and you have access to the entire accumulated knowledge of human civilization basically.
And while that may seem like it would be helpful for our wisdom, I don’t think that it actually has been and I think most of us would probably say that, as there has been more and more information at our fingertips, we’ve actually as a society, by and large, become less wise. And why is that?
BASHAM: To hear Brett McCracken’s answer to that question and the complete conversation, look for Listening In with Warren Smith this weekend wherever you get your podcasts.