5 Tips for Surviving in Technopolis

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“We have reached a period in which all forms of cultural life have surrendered to the sovereignty of Technology,” says editorial board member Arthur Hunt in a new interview with Tony Reinke at Desiring God. “We put so much cultural stock in sort of headlong rush into the future without any clear telos [goal]. The only real telos is it has got to be bigger, it has got to be faster, and it has got to be newer. Somebody might ask: Well, what is wrong with this? Well, it advances the notion that our purpose in life is to be a satisfied consumer of material goods. So the next big thing is not the coming of God’s kingdom, but the coming of the curved TV screen.”

Reinke interviews Hunt as well as author David Wells to examine how important it is for Christians to know how to be undistracted and alone. They discuss how we are losing our capacity for attention, including our capacity to be attentive to God in our lives. How can we make God the focal point of our lives when we can’t focus on one thing for more than three minutes?

Wells and Hunt come up with five tips for Christians to survive in what Hunt calls Technopolis:

1. Count the personal costs of a device along with the benefits

Don’t just look at whether a given technology is good or bad. Commercials for iPhones and smart watches and 4k televisions only talk about the benefits of technology. As Christians, we need to be able to also see the cost of any given technology. Questions we need to ask include: Will this affect my spiritual life? How will this change my relationships with my friends, family, or church community?

2. Be the master over your technology, don’t get mastered by it

Similarly, we should use technology to achieve our own ends. It’s easy to let our technology guide what ends we are pursuing, instead of setting our own goals and letting technology serve those ends.

3. Moderate your use

While we need to be careful about how much we use technology, we don’t need to cut it out of our lives completely. In fact, that would be impossible. We need to practice the virtue of moderation in our use of technology.

4. Hone your skill to distinguish the significant from the insignificant

According to Wells: “We must learn to organize our internal world. If we don’t do that, we cannot see the distinction between things that are really weighty in life from those that are ephemeral and flashy and superficial; those that are true from those that are wrong; those that really matter from those that we can brush off.”

5. Discipline yourself by reading books

Reading helps us to exercise our minds and to reclaim our focus. We need to be able to focus and be attentive to the will of God in our lives, and reading helps us exercise that ability.

 

For more highlights from the interview, as well as audio of the entire interview, visit Desiring God.

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Up&Up. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is benjamingrobertson.com

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