This morning, I found myself scrolling through my phone’s contacts to find a number. I’ve had this friend for a long time. I still remember her phone number from when we were growing up, but I can’t for the life of me remember her current one. I’ve memorized my boyfriend’s number, and that’s about it. Now, what exactly is all of this freed mental space being used for? TV?
I don’t hate technology, per se. I hate the mindless, heartless, greedy, self-ish use of it and what that does to us. Like not being able to remember phone numbers anymore. I’ve allowed myself to have a dependence on the cell phone. I am dependent on it, but I don’t love it. It’s like a bad relationship. Call me crazy, but I can’t love those things. I just can’t.
There are no victims here. I’ve played my passive part in the technology revo/evo lution. Yes, we are all responsible for iPhones and such. But here’s the thing: it seems that technology is evolving faster than consciousness. When I say “consciousness” I am talking about things like compassion, forgiveness, peacefulness, contemplativeness, and things of that nature.
Technology can do amazing things, like give someone a new heart. Having a second chance at life often nudges people towards personal growth. But on the other hand, that ability to transplant a heart has not helped us deal with our serious taboo against death. So people will exploit this taboo and turn technology into a use for making profit.
Technology is like a runaway train. And we don’t even see it happening. For instance, I was so busy being caught up in the wonders of cell phones, until one day, bam! I realized that they’ve sucked out my memory chip. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, to not know a number that you call all the time, but then you have to wonder: is there something else I’ve forgotten?
(Wait. I’m having a little fantasy, now, of myself as a superhero, dressed in loving-pink tights, standing with one hand on my hip, the other thrust purposefully forward. The technology train screeches to a walking pace.)
I don’t want to eliminate technology. I’m saying that, in this age of technology, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath-water. There are some great things that our ancestors taught us. I just think that maybe we need to slow down. To take a moment to digest what we’ve eaten. To ask ourselves, honestly, what it is we really need. Is it a new iPhone? Greater convenience? More distraction? More websites that tell us the appropriate time to take a pee break during a movie?
How can we measure the good technology does vs. the bad? I don’t think there can be any absolute measure. I’m just saying, isn’t it off that a lot of students have laptops and text until their thumbs bleed but have trouble writing a coherent sentence? When they can multi-task, but can’t explore any one thing in depth? When they struggle to internalize and coordinate movement? Of course, that’s a huge generalization…
In the bible, you know, where it says that the meek shall inherit the earth?…I wonder if Jesus was referring to those vanishing cultures who don’t have iPhones. Who are not on Facebook. Who still know how to make a fire without matches or a lighter. Who can still remember shit. They will inherit the earth because they’re the only ones who will know how to survive here without technology after the Great Earth changes. Was Jesus talking about them?