Though we started off with a somewhat controversial bang (some of you thought I was inches away from growing a beard, shaving my mustache, donning a straw hat and suspenders and starting my own little luddite cult), as it turns out, my conclusions are fairly modest and rather obvious. Oh well, it was fun being thought of as a radical, even if for just a little while.
Below is a bullet-point summary of my provisional conclusions after pondering the connection between technology and spirituality. In my next post I’ll suggest some practical points of application.
- Technology has so thoroughly infiltrated our lives (here in the West) that it’s extremely difficult-if-not-impossible to realize the extent of the spiritual affect it’s having on us
- Broadly speaking, technology can be defined as machines containing interconnected, moving parts but the majority of my concerns have to do with the spiritual implications of digital technology (smart phones, tablets, computers, televisions, etc)
- Various forms of technology have greatly improved our health and standard of living in many ways
- Our use of technology has changed the way that we view the passing of time and therefore impacts our basic experience of life on earth
- Our obsession with productivity is at least partially a result of the ubiquitous nature of time-saving technology and is potentially hindering us from realizing our full innate human potential
- We (royal we) have absorbed technology into our life without pausing to think critically about its affect and therefore, by default, it’s the creators and marketers of technology who are setting the terms of our use of technology
- The creative minds and marketing forces behind technology probably aren’t particularly concerned about the state of our souls
- Technology provides unprecedented access to entertainment which is distracting us from attending to spiritual matters which are more difficult and demanding to attend to
- Technology, while promising to connect us into deeper relationships with one another, is actually having a damaging impact on our experience of community with one another
- While technology does promote greater ease of life (which can be good), it should be kept in mind that ease of life is not really a very good ultimate goal of life (hard work, evening boring work, can be good for the soul)
- Our use of screen-based-internet technology is changing the way that our brains function and is resulting in decreased attention spans (which definitely has spiritual implications)
- Our use of technology, even if it is not having a negative spiritual impact on our own lives, may be causing others to stumble
- By spending hundreds of hours vicariously experiencing life through actors on a screen, we may be losing important bits of our true selves.
Maybe you don’t agree with the conclusions above. But I’ve yet to have a conversation with anyone who has even come close to convincing me that my conclusions are off base. Most people that I’ve talked with have conceded all my points and then concluded with a shoulder shrug and a yeahbutwhatareyagonnado? look.
Well, I don’t know about you but I’m gonna do something. The state of my soul and the spiritual flourishing of my family are just too important for me to allow them to be damaged by uncritical consumption of technology. So next time, Lord willing, I’ll start to draw some personal lines the sand with regard to my technology use.