Here’s the thing:
I think I hate technology.
Oh, I’m not all that radical. Technology is a rather broad term that enables humanity to survive in the day to day world. And not all technology is bad, and therefore, I don’t hate all of it. Everything from whichever device you’re reading this on to the fork you ate dinner with last night is technically technology. To make such a broad statement is useless to everyone, most of all myself. So, let me be more specific.
I think I hate certain types of technology.
What types of technology would those be? I tend to dislike anything that prevents people from interacting with other people. For example, Facebook. What started out as a grand idea allowing people to stay in contact with family and friends has turned into gossip extremism and rampant heresay.
“Did you see what Jonny did last night?”
“I can’t believe you’re voting for that oaf.”
“Hey, check out this latest meal I ate. Aren’t you jealous?”
Come on people! Sure we use it for marketing too, but gone is its original purpose. I sure don’t use it as a way of keeping up with family and friends. Hell, half these people I can’t stand. And I bet you feel the same about your friends list. I feel like the same goes for Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler, and all those other sites. Useless mumbo jumbo.
But this isn’t the only technology that I hate. Many things get added, and removed from that list. The numbers are undefinable, sadly enough. Smart phones have a special place in Hell for me. Cell phones in general aren’t much better. Do you really need to reach me 24-hours a day, 7-days a week? I sure as Hell think you don’t. Of course, my wife feels a bit different about that. So she wins that argument, but the war is far from over.
Think about it. It really is quite ridiculous. Like life could never have existed without those damn things. But I bet you that most of you out there reading this remember rotary dial phones—and how to use them. Was it really a miracle that each one of us survived until adulthood without the constant need for cell phones, bicycle helmets, or having your child in a car seat until they are 79 years old?
Somehow I doubt that God handed out that many miracles.
Especially if your childhood was anything like mine. There are things that I did that I’m not proud of, and looking back at whatever it was, I have only one question: How did I survive that? No doubt those more religious than I would say that an angel was looking out for me that day at that hour, but I don’t think so. I think that the human body and mind is more resilient than we give it credit for. Otherwise, how did our grandparents survive World War II, or the American Civil War? The Crusades? What about cave bears and sabertooth tigers? Somehow we survived all that without Big Brother watching over our shoulder.
“But Nick, the world is a scarier place than when we grew up. You’ll understand when you have kids.”
The world is no scarier or harsher than it has ever been. We’re just more aware of it as adults than we were as kids. Serial killers and child rapists still existed. Same goes for war, famine, and plague. I counter argue that the world has gotten softer as humanity develops. When was the last time you had to worry about small pox or the bubonic plague? Polo? Sure, some of us choose to interact with those diseases on a day to day basis. But the key word is choose. The vast majority of us will never have to worry about those diseases which were very real threats less than a century ago.
What about violence? Yeah, that’s down too. No longer do people feel the need to walk around armed with swords or pistols in order to borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor. There is a reason they call it the “Taming of the West.” And those of us who do carry semi-automatic weapons when buying diapers for our kids at Target are viewed as radicals rather than doing something needed to survive.
There is a vast difference between desire, the belief of need, and actual need. Don’t make me get started on that. It’s a whole different ball of wax.
Maybe I’m a bit of a radical myself, but I do believe that technology has made us soft. We’ve forgotten how to communicate with each other. OH MY WORD! Look at kids on dates anymore. They spend the time IM-ing each other rather than actually talking. And they ask each other out via text. When I was their age, I would have killed to be able to ask a girl out without looking at her in the eyeball. But I did, and somehow I survived.
It was what made us grow and develop. Those scars—if you can even call them scars sometimes—are what made our lives unique and different and not some mass idea of what we should think, do, or say. Those experiences changed our lives. The good. The bad. The ugly. Technolgy has desensitized us to reality in so many ways. We watch documentaries on war and see soldiers come home missing parts of their body, never to live the same way again. But we never really comprehend it. We haven’t seen it or experienced it firsthand.
Now, I’m not saying go out and chop off your hand. But watch a documentary on war—World War II, Vietnam, The American Civil War, whatever—and remind yourself each time you see a dead body, that that was a real person. Watch the cars blow up and the bombs explode, reminding yourself that you are watching people die. It’s a hard thing to do. But by the end, you won’t be the same person.
So next time you go out, put up the cell phone (“I use it to tell time.” There are these fantastic new devices called watches.) and talk to the person across from you. Spend the night with the computer off and in another room, instead focusing on the person you’re sharing your life with. My wife and I have started doing this, and—
Well, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s like rediscovering her all over again in the best way possible. And while you may not think you’re doing anything like that, I bet you are. So separate your life from the needless and common. Go out and live it.