Intentional Weekend: Liberate Yourself from E-slavery

"During the thousand years between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, what defined human life in the Western world was the Christian religion. People’s daily actions and experiences aligned to the
liturgical calendar, which itself proceeded throughout the year in harmony with the rhythms of the natural world. People knew that this life was preparation for the next, but they also knew that this world was a part of the world to come...[Then] Human life no longer was informed at its center by worship of God but by worship of man...[Now,] has also passed and that the age in which we now live—The Age of Technology...In the process man has become a slave. C.S. Lewis called this “the abolition of man,” and his book thus titled explained how three technologies—the radio, the airplane, and the contraceptive pill—all promised greater freedom for mankind but instead became the means for a few to control the lives of the many. Lewis saw these inventions serving the designs of totalitarian regimes. Half a century later, many of us have of our own choosing surrendered our freedom to technology."


"Faithful Catholics see well enough the tyranny of technology in the wicked laboratories where human reproduction is torn asunder from human love. They recognize that the first device aimed at this end, the contraceptive pill, is the bastard offspring of the previous age’s two lies: the perfectibility of man (eugenics) and the total autonomy of man (unlimited sensual gratification without consequences). Where Catholics are less able—or less willing, perhaps—to see technology’s tendency to enslave is in the operation of the machines and systems of modern communication technology: computers, iPads, smartphones, e-mail, social-network pages, chat-rooms, blogs, Web forums, Twitter, the Internet, texting, and so on. We have given our lives over to these devices and habits. My colleague Aaron Wolf has coined a term for this condition: e-slavery."

"The story goes that when Evelyn Waugh at last succumbed to having a telephone installed in his home he answered it this way, “Is this an emergency? If not, write a letter!” None of us could get away with that now, but Waugh, even if he was not what we would call a “people person,” recognized the effect of communication technology on human relationships. It lowers discourse to the trivial.
Scroll through a day’s worth of teenage texting. Read the Tweets or blogs of those whose vanity has convinced them that the whole world is interested in their shopping and sexual habits. Watch the cell phones come out the moment your airplane lands, or read the posts on any Web forum. You will realize that, as Chesterton says, “[i]t is the beginning of all true criticism of our time to realize that it has really nothing to say, at the very moment when it has invented so tremendous a trumpet for saying it” (“The Proper View of Machines,” Illustrated London News, February 10, 1923)."

"“The impotence of the receptive party”: The phrase perfectly describes man’s servile relationship with the images and sounds of modern communication technology. Moving images so influence our lives that we conform our tastes, our clothes, our manners, and our behavior after that of our favorite stars. Some of us are perpetually starring in the movie about our own life, and our iPods provide the neverending soundtrack for this alternate reality."

"St. Augustine identified this human failing long ago, in Book Ten of his Confessions. He called it the lust of the eyes. Our desire to know about these things only drives us further from the divine because they crowd our imaginations when our imaginations should be filled with the contemplation of God. As long as I stay plugged into the noise, the flashing images, and the gossip, I do not risk facing the terrifying silence during which I would be forced to confront that which is most real—the state of my interior life. If my iPod headphones are blaring, I need not acknowledge the supplication of the beggar. If my iPod headphones are blaring, I will not recognize the beggar that is my soul."

Read the entire excellent esssay here and see what the author proposes instead of slavery to technology. I think a slow, thoughtful reading, pondering the message, praying about it, and then acting intentionally could truly be lifechanging.

As for me and my house, I think change could be a good thing.