In the last post, I discussed some of the ways technology changes us. In this post, I will describe some of the reasons why we are drawn to use technology.
Social media gives us a false source of intimacy. Social media provides us with just enough intimacy to feel connected, but it doesn’t give us enough intimacy to actually be connected. Our interactions on social media satisfy our need for intimacy just enough that we no longer feel the need to pursue what we truly need in real relationships.
We actually begin to like the distractions. John Dyer writes, “Our lives are so distracted that we actually come to like it. We realize that if we keep going at full speed, we’ll never have to reflect on the deep struggles in our own souls.”
Constant online activity makes us feel significant. We feel more important or significant when we receive a new email or text message. We begin to determine our significance and status by how often others interact with us online.
We think that more information is always better. We think that more information always leads to a happier, better life. We neglect to consider the potential impact of possessing too much information.
Electronic communication is safe. Tim Challies says, “Texting feels easier, safer, and more efficient than talking face-to-face.” We’re never forced into the intimacy that face-to-face communication requires, and there is real comfort there. But the safety prohibits the intimacy required to maintain a healthy relationship. As an example, I could text somebody all day long and never know that they were having a bad day. Conversely, provided I knew them relatively well, it would only take a few minutes of being with somebody to note their temperament.
We are drawn to the convenience of electronic communication. Though texting is less intimate and relational, it is often more convenient. We become lazy in our communication and allow convenience to rule.
Face-to-face communication is messy. Electronic communication gives us the illusion of control. We control when we talk and what we communicate more easily, since we can take time to consider a response. It’s not the same with face-to-face communication, where conflict inevitably arises and one can’t wait until it’s convenient to respond or deal with it. Awkwardness often arises as well, but we must learn to relate face-to-face, lest we live our entire lives with social awkwardness, without the ability to address and work through conflicts.
We believe we are infinite. We believe that we can handle more communication, more media, and more information without it impacting the way we think or the way we live. As Quentin Schultze says, “We embrace quantity over quality, and sacrifice substance and meaning.”
Why are you drawn to technology? In what ways are you drawn to it in unhealthy ways?