Technology brings a world of spiritual knowledge to our fingertips. But immersing ourselves in a world of gadgets may also distance us from more authentic connections with teachers, family, and friends. Guest blogger Justin Whitaker takes a look at the double-edged sword of our hyper-connected world.
Since you are reading this, presumably on a computer or other high-tech device, you owe a thing or two to technology. Nearly all of us in the Western world and a fast-growing number in the East live in a world molded and directed by technology. We have lived amidst changes that could scarcely be imagined just fifty years ago. We wake up, push a button or two for coffee, assemble our morning meal from plastic containers in the refrigerator, and flip open the laptop to start our day. Whether we are aware of it or not – and our goal is to be aware – technology shapes our life. Thus in practice, we need to recognize not only how we individually use or do not use technology, but also how technology affects whole communities and future generations.
What exactly is technology? It is any human creation that has been put out into the world, thus affecting our lives, from the ancient technologies of iron tools and grain bins to the cutting edge world of nano-gadgets and skyscrapers. On the one hand all of this has allowed humanity to grow and flourish as it has. Today we enjoy extraordinary efficiency, easy travel, and abundant leisure. On the other hand we face countless distractions, a “hedonic treadmill” of chasing the next newest thing, and a virtual black hole for time spent waiting for computers to boot up, web pages to load or files to download, and so on.