I guess being a JPII-er is really soaking in... this technology itself is kind of an evil. Like a miniature structure of sin.
So since you, dear stranger, will probably be the only stranger to read this, I will tell you a bit of what we have been discussing in classes here, and you can ponder it.
(For further reading: George Grant, Wendell Berry, David S. Schindler)
What is technology?
In America, we say that all this stuff we have is just that: Stuff. It's how you use it that can make it a problem. We have television: It's fine, even great (history channel!) but it can be used in the wrong way, we say. We have computers and the internet, which are wonderful, but again can be used in the wrong way.
"Technology is the ontology of our age." (Grant) It is everything to us. It is our mode of being. Ever since that crazy Enlightenment, we've been out to mess with the world, control it, make it do our bidding, rather than to see it as a gift. Yes, it is a gift we can work with. But that should not be our first thought. When many people see trees, they see paper... firewood... money. They do not think, "Wow, this tree is beautiful for its own sake" if there would be a material advantage to getting rid of it.
So what is our world of technology teaching us?
- If you want to learn about anything, just type it into Google. In other words: The acquisition of information should be instantaneous. You do not have to work to know. You do not have to go to the library and use your body, smell the dusty volumes of the encyclopedia, and get glorious paper cuts. In fact, our bodies have nothing to do with learning or thinking.
- I should always be entertained. I do not need a long attention span, either. In fact, it's better if I don't because the commercial breaks won't be so annoying.
- Communication has nothing to do with the body. Someone can really and truly know me by reading my blog, if all I am is my thoughts... but I'm not a ghost in a machine. There is something really important in actually being in the presence of the other.
- I should be connected to everyone, anytime, anywhere. How many of us have felt cut off from the world because we were away from our email for a week, or even less? Who feel suddenly vulnerable to car accidents if we discover we do not have our cell phone with us? I'm guilty, here, people, I'm just saying... it's not good. We're addicted.
- I can get anything I want without any human interaction. I don't have to speak to anyone. I don't have to make small talk with the clerk as my credit gets approved. A few clicks and a couple days, and what I want will be delivered to my own home. I can even track it online. No more is there an element of adventure, unpredictability. Everything goes just as I plan it.
- Silence is bad. There is noise everywhere... the radio is on in the car, the tv goes on as soon as we get home; we wake up in the morning to harsh beeping. But God speaks to us in the silence. I don't think silence has ever been the easiest thing, but our culture certainly cultivates noise. Kids seem get antsy after about 2.5 minutes of silence in a chapel.
There are more, but I'm tired. That's another thing- these things are bad for your eyes... now all I have to do is figure out how to kick the addiction.