The Downside Of Technology

I Fear the Day That Technology Will Surpass Our Human Interaction” ~Albert Einstein

There’s no question that technology has made our lives easier in many ways. I use my laptop daily for research and writing, and it’s useful to be able to communicate via email and cellphone. However, the progress that we’ve witnessed in the past century—and that has exponentially grown in recent years—has not brought us increased freedom and leisure. In fact, the result is just the opposite.

There are significant and far-reaching consequences of technology that Einstein predicted. Every day, I observe people talking on cell phones or texting instead of interacting with those who are right next to them. Time on the computer—whether working, surfing, or playing games—consumes the majority of waking hours for many people, and in many instances, has replaced outdoor activities, leisure pursuits, and social interaction.

This disconnection from life is a direct result of overdependence on technology. I believe it is important to ask yourself, “Is what I do an expression of who I am?” How are you spending your precious hours of life?

Technology

Stress, The Brain, and Seeking Truth

There is a distinct physiological cost to an overdependence on technology as well. The brain is the key organ of stress processes. Few people consider the cost of the technical and artificial stimuli that we now live with, and the resulting lack of true human interaction and time for stillness. In moments of stillness, the mind and body are quiet and listening; this offers the opportunity for truth to emerge. We’ve all experienced these moments of truth—when we listen to beautiful expressive music; enjoy tender, deep, and meaningful relationships; or spend time in nature.

It’s helpful to understand how our bodies respond to stress. The brain determines what we experience as stressful. It then orchestrates how we cope with the stressor, respond, and adapt. Continued or frequent stress causes physiological changes throughout the body that enable us to better deal with and respond to stressors. However, the cost is significant, as we become less able to keep all other physical and mental systems of the body strong and healthy.

With constant stressful experiences the norm as a result of the techno-over-stimulating world we now live in, we are changing both functionally and structurally. Within the brain, a dynamic and adaptive neural circuitry coordinates, monitors, and calibrates behavioral and physiological stress response systems to meet the demands imposed by chronic stress. These interrelated dynamic processes are adaptive in the short-term (allostasis) and maladaptive in the long term (allostatic load). [1]

These processes involve bidirectional signaling between the brain and body, placing increased demands upon both. Over time, this leads to weakened vitality and an overall state of cellular, endocrine and nervous system exhaustion, creating vulnerability to brain-dependent and stress-related mental and physical health conditions.

No one can keep up with the latest in smart phones, computers, or techno toys, and we’re causing ourselves more stress by trying. The obsession for technology is not only detrimental to our health and well-being; it is taking us away from the truth. Technology is moving us away from what makes us human—especially the experience of intimacy, the emotional and spiritual closeness where together we feel sadness and joy, forgiveness, kindness, and love in the form of agape, the love that is “unconditional” and involves self sacrifice.

Staying Centered in a Technological World

To keep myself centered in the midst of this technological world, I ask myself, “Who am I?” In my daily prayers, the answer from deep within comes— “I am a lover.”  I am a lover of God, which I express by loving everyone and everything, starting with my wife and my family, and extending out infinitely.

To maintain balance, it’s important to understand that work (your occupation) has a subjective and an objective purpose.  You do what you do first and foremost to manifest God’s love to the world (the subjective reason for your work and your existence) and secondarily to be productive (the objective reason). The objective is second to the subjective. By keeping our relationship with God (as we know him) at the center of our lives, we contribute in our own way to creating heaven on earth.

Internal transformation is a living quest to train and discipline ourselves. This requires the desire to change and do, or undo, the things we know that will bring us closer to God and Truth—no matter the cost or consequences or self-discipline asked of us.

[1] McEwen BS , Gianaros PJ., Stress- and allostasis-induced brain plasticity, Annu Rev Med. 2011;62:431-45. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-052209-100430.

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2 Replies to “The Downside Of Technology”

  1. Hello,I was disappointed in your otherwise informative piece, The Truth About Soy… in the Aug. Bottom Line Personal – that you made no mention of soy nuts.
    Can you tell me how roasted soy nuts fit into
    the nutritional picture?
    Thank you for your attention.
    DS

    1. Hi Don – Thank you for reading my article in Bottom Line Personal. I don’t generally recommend soy nuts. Dry roasted would be ok, but oil roasted is not recommended due to the fact the oil destroys the beneficial antioxidants and forms harmful compounds.

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