Why Technology Makes Our Lives Easier Yet More Meaningless

Why Technology Makes Our Lives Easier Yet More Meaningless

In the end, who cares how productive that device makes you if you aren’t productive in what matters most to God. How will we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves with our faces constantly pressed against a screen? Sure, the latest technology makes our lives easier, but is it also making them more meaningless? And if it is, where do we start drawing the line?

Every device you buy makes a promise, “I’ll make your life easier.”

You see a new phone, a new appliance, or a new app you’d like to try, and immediately you start thinking, “this will make my life so much better!”

And often the promise turns out to be true.

We purchase that new gadget or piece of software and it does make us marginally more productive, entertained, or efficient. Life is a little bit easier. But while we’re so enamored by the ways the technology makes life easier, we scarcely hear the second part of the contract.

Technology will make your life a little easier, but it will also make it a little more meaningless.

The Future is Here and it’s Disappointing

We are living in the future. At the press of a button, you can have any item you desire shipped to your home, any information you like poured directly into your brain. We have an abundance—endless entertainment options, unlimited methods to automate away tedium, and infinite access to every comfort imaginable. All thanks to our devices.

But our devices also take their pound of flesh. Do you ever look around at our world and wonder, “How can a people who have everything be so miserable?”

It’s the conundrum of our age: We have everything we thought we wanted, but somehow we’re still not happy. We have infinite content, so why aren’t we infinitely content?

Now, we could say the very obvious thing. They need, Jesus. And, yes, they do need Jesus.

But don’t you feel it too?

I know I do. And I have Jesus. But something still seems off. It’s like I’m desperately trying to get something from my devices; to scratch some mysterious itch. But the more I search, the more it eludes me.

The Life We’re Looking For

In his book, The Life We’re Looking For, Andy Crouch notes some of the unique features of the times we live in:

  • “The defining mental activity of our time is scrolling”
  • “The defining illness of our time is metabolic syndrome”
  • “The defining emotional challenge of our time is anxiety”

Crouch concludes, “So it is no wonder that the defining condition of our time is a sense of loneliness and alienation. For if human flourishing requires us to love with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, what happens when nothing in our lives develops those capacities? With what, exactly, will we love?” (59).

It seems we’ve struck a deal with our devices that so much resembles the bargains with the tricksters from the old stories. A genie appears to grant your wish. But once you have what your flesh desired you find you’ve lost something of yourself in the exchange. We wished for peace and quiet, and what we got was loneliness.

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