There’s this song where Jack Black is singing about a duel with the devil and the devil approaches him “and his brother Kyle, here” and challenges him to, on the spot, compose and play the greatest and best song in the world or else “I’ll eat your soul.”
And that’s kind of what technology does to us. Not challenging us to musical duels, but eating our souls.
I speak in hyperbole, but only a little. I’ve written before that I am a Luddite and that I Don’t Get Twitter. I’ve recently deleted almost all of the apps on my phone and stopped checking Facebook and Twitter for an indeterminate amount of time.
My goal is not to cut myself off from technology and social media but attempt to retrain the part of my brain that seemingly was hardwired into checking for “updates” more often than necessary. And, you know, ask good questions over meals with the people who exist within the real sphere of my existence (rather than the digital sphere).
I had a fun conversation yesterday with my friend Matt. One thing about Matt is that he loves technology and has a very beautiful and hopeful vision for how technology can play a positive role in our life (and, even more uniquely, in the life of Christian/faith communities).
I really like Matt and I really like the work he does to critically integrate technology, relationships, creativity, and spirituality together.
But I’m not as hopeful as him about our ability to harness technology. I’m a Jayber Crow-loving dystopian who believes that technology harnesses us rather than the other way around.
Facebook sets out to connect us “with friends and the world around us” but doesn’t it actually disconnect us with the actual world around us and give us tools we need to spy and slander and “shallowize” relationships instead of deepen them?
Twitter lets you “find out what’s happening right now” but isn’t its 140-character limit really an invitation to dismissal of others rather than true dialogue?
Instagram is a place to “capture and share the world’s moments” but it’s really about what you ate for breakfast, yeah?