The Spiritual Cost of Gadgets

| 3/15/2010 4:33:32 PM

Technology Frustration

The real cost of a new laptop, cell phone, or gadget may not be listed in the fine print of the agreement. Each new gizmo also has a “Malfunction Tax” on people’s time, spiritual health, and wellbeing. Writing for Standpoint, Lionel Shriver describes the hidden cost of the new doohickies, thingamajigs, and inanimate chunks of plastic that invade our lives. She writes:

Each time we buy another gizmo, we're not only committed to hours of tremblingly assembling its delicate snap-together plastic bits, loading its software and learning its often demanding technical protocols, but we're prospectively surrendering yet more hours of aggravation when despite our dutiful decoding of mockingly sparse instructions it fails to function properly. Thus all these dazzling inventions are far more costly than their price tags suggest. Why don't I have a mobile, much less an iPhone or a BlackBerry? While I can afford the mere economic expense of the accessory, I cannot afford the temporal and emotional expense when it doesn't work.

Source: Standpoint 

Image by youngthousands, licensed under Creative Commons.

bill brown
4/24/2011 12:46:31 PM

technology is just a new use for the same old caveman rock. 60s star trek expected teleporters as communications but reality requires us to just use phones (and video) but people now have communications to send gigabytes but really sad they have nothing to say

Jim Walker
3/20/2010 10:28:23 AM

Hi Friends. I think we are missing the point here...these gadgets were designed to make our lives easier...not to complicate it. Technology today is quite different. It has become our master. When we were learning how to use the telephone, we had to put up with some inconvenience, and bad connections, but it did not consume us. This is especially poignant for me right now...I have spent the last 3 days, almost day and night, reformatting and reinstalling programs, and my karma is suffering! Of course, I must be even more careful, since I am writing you from a remote island community in Nicaragua where we work 6 months a year in a NGO educational program directed at motivated students. We can only do that since we are able to close our office in Vermont and forward telephone calls, and emails to us down here. Clearly it is a double edged sword that cuts both ways.

Frank Jacob_1
3/20/2010 9:54:38 AM

While I share the author's frsutations we must realize the learning curve is steep whenever you learn something new. We didn't walk in one day nor did we learn to ride a bicycle in one day. We took a few steps or traveled down the driveway only to fall and get up and start again. Through the process we learn, we grow, we become more confident. Technology is no different. Yes it is frustrating but over time one can become proficient. It is more attitude than ability. Today if we get stuck we can ask our kids or the neighbor next door. We don't have to go it alone. In terms of learning there are mini-classes, web based training, books, etc that can make things easier. More cell phone companies are offering training because of the complex nature of their devices. As a minister I find technology spritually freeing. I can learn about other cultures and practices that would take hours of research in a library. If I have a thought in Starbucks for my sermon I can note it in my smart phone or pop open my laptop. I find journaling and prayer writing unbelievable freeing using technology. My ideas now flow faster and easier versus the old pad and pen. Most of my congregation is connected to the internet. Their average age is in their 60's. Almost all have cell phones for safety as well as convenience when the power goes out. Are they tech pros? Hardly. They just use the technology to the best of their ability. In the end that is all that matters.

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