Slowing Down In a Speeded up World

Monday, February 7, 2011

We are consumed by modern day technology. There is no denying this. As in the Terminator movies, our world has been taken over by the machines. Really think about it. How many hours a day do we spend on the computer? On the phone? Watching the television? It would be nice to take a break from our fast-paced lives which are run by this technology, or to slow down our lives just a bit. There has not been a day in my life where technology has been absent. As we get older, it consumes us more and more. We are wired in to our technology, and it is making us less human. New ways for modern technology to make our lives easier are constantly being developed. We are literally being consumed by our desires to advance and improve technology to make our lives easier, to produce more, and to speed up everything we do. Some people believe that this is a good thing. We are addicted to our twenty-first century luxuries, really. My mother constantly begs my stepfather to put his iPhone down. It’s ridiculous. One time I was showing him how to charge his iPhone on the computer, but he wouldn’t even let me do that, because he was texting his friend at the time. He wasn’t willing to turn it off for an hour. In Walden, Henry David Thoreau writes that “a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” In other words, a man’s wealth is measured in what he can live without as opposed to what he lives with. We are richer when our lives are not centered around modern technology. We are then able slow down our lives and take time to appreciate what is right in front of us. Can we really afford to spend time away from our precious technology though and slow down? The answer is yes. Referring back to my stepfather’s iPhone addiction, my family and I took a cruise to Ensenada this past winter. One of my mother’s conditions was that my stepfather had to leave his iPhone in the car when we got out, so he couldn’t have any access to it for the whole four days. I was amazed that he agreed to it, and far more amazed that he made it through the cruise without it. In fact, I didn’t hear him complain once. How did he make it through the cruise without even complaining once? I think it was because it was so peaceful, and it was such great quality time spent with his family. There is not enough of that anymore in this world. Not nearly enough. We hardly ever take the time to appreciate the nature and love that God put in this world in the beginning. Our world today is focused on speeding up, advancing, and bringing in the new. Thoreau warns us against this in Walden when he urges us to “Cultivate poverty,,, Do not trouble yourself much to get new things… Turn to the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change.” In a world where our lives are centered around modern technology, it is salutary for us to slow down.





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