“Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?” — Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You Like It
I have a love/hate relationship with food (there’s so much that goes into this, but I’m sure we’ll get into that later). The problem is pretty simple: I love it too much. If I’m not busy during the day, it’s amazing how much of my time is spent thinking about my next meal.
And while I know that I need food to survive, I never view it that way. I never think, “I’m so grateful for this double Whopper with cheese, because without it, my organs would eventually begin shutting down and I would waste away to death.” Food is not sustinance to me; it is enjoyment. It’s about consumption.
All I do is consume, consume, consume.
And that’s where the hate comes in. Consumption leads to over-indulgence. Too much of a good thing.
The food that is supposed to sustain my life is often the thing that ends up hurting it.
Technology is the same way. Technology is basically anything that extends the human senses – cell phones that extend our hearing, cameras that extend our eyesight, ladders that extend our reach, etc. Technology is a great thing.
But my relationship with technology is not that simple. Instead of using technology to help enrich my life, my technology often ends up ruling it. Consumption leads to over-indulgence. The things that are meant to help me navigate my world end up clouding my vision.
One person that has been incredibly influential to us is Shane Hipps. In his book Flickering Pixels, he describes how technology can be extended to a point that it reverts on itself. It begins to have the exact opposite effect of its intended use. Instead of helping us, it gets in our way.
For instance, a security camera allows us to maintain our privacy – to keep others out of places they do not belong. However, too many security cameras lead us to feel a lack of privacy, like there are eyes on us wherever we go.
Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
I have something like 500 friends on Facebook, yet only a few deep relationships. Is the technology that is supposed to help me connect with others actually hindering my relationships?
Does my phone really help me stay connected when I pay attention to it instead of the person sitting at the table with me?
All I do with technology is consume, consume, consume. And maybe the things that are supposed to make my life better are hindering my physical, emotional & spiritual health.
So I guess I have a love/hate relationship with technology, too. I have too much of a good thing.
Does this describe your life? Do you ever feel like technology has become too much of a good thing?
And what does this mean for our spiritual lives?