New technologies can lead to self-inflicted bondage PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 13:09

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

We have to be masters, not slaves, of the new technologies. But to attain that goal, we have to realize that we are getting into a new ball game, with different set of rules, and with very subtle implications and consequences that we still have to explore and weigh, and their ranking in our proper hierarchy of priorities established.

In short, we have to go through the learning process which usually involves a teacher or tutor to guide us, especially at the beginning stage. And I don’t mean simply the technical aspect of the matter. Much more important is the moral and spiritual dimension of this new development where we are often at sea, confused and lost.

There is no doubt that the easy access today to smartphones, tablets, mobile devices, computers, the Internet, social media, etc., has given us tremendous facilities and advantages. But just as they give us a lot of good, a lot of evil has been generated as well.

It cannot be denied that very often these new technologies so grab, hijack and almost completely absorb our attention that we would forget or neglect our other, even more important duties. We get hooked to them, like drugs.

They have such alluring and seductive power that we can think we are doing well with them, when in fact we are being degraded, since we tend to waste time and to get entangled with many unnecessary but fascinating little distractions, trivialities, gossips, etc.

We can get the sensation that with them we are expanding our world, increasing our knowledge, extending our reach, not realizing that in the end we would just be feeding our self-centeredness and vanity.

This is not to mention that these new technologies can be an irresistible occasion and temptation to sin. A casual stumbling into a pornographic and other questionable site can easily open the slippery slide to vices and all kinds of addiction. Indeed, they can complicate rather than simplify our life.

To the strong and mature people, these new technologies can make them better. But to the weak and immature, they most likely can lead to a mess. But since in real life, we can be strong one time and weak the next, we really would need to be most discerning and disciplined to tackle the challenge of using these technologies properly.

Some criteria and norms have to be established and followed. We just cannot plunge into these technologies driven and guided only by our common sense. That would not be enough. I would say that with the more complicated things are with emergence of these new technologies, we need to be more strict with ourselves, a little bit distrustful of our capabilities, and more urged to seek help from others.

And I would say that the first among these criteria and norms should be the need to rectify our intentions. Our motive of using them should first of all and always be to give glory to God.

It should not just be for practical purposes. That’s because to be so intentioned, without referring it to God, would simply expose us to the dangers of self-indulgence, vague ulterior motives, and other impulses deriving from mere and spontaneous curiosities, and other passing and unclear conditionings that we are all subject to.

Thus, there’s always need to practice temperance, restraint and moderation of these new technologies so that the proper motive of giving glory to God and serving others would not be undermined, but rather would be enhanced.

Let’s always remember what Christ so clearly told us: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16,24) Let’s concretize this indication of self-denial in the spirit that animates these words of Christ. Let’s translate it into some specific actions.

Among them perhaps could be that we don’t have to avail of all these new technologies, or of their latest models. We have to limit our use of them to a certain time of the day. We have to restrain our spontaneous impulse to use them.

We have to make sure that we have a very clear purpose in using them, avoiding simply driven by passing curiosities, if not by passing whims and caprices. It may be a good idea to deliberately pray before using them and even while using them so our attitude toward them is kept spiritual, moral and supernatural.

We should never forget that these new technologies can be a strong temptation for us to be drunk with our own powers, forgetting God. That would lead us to a self-inflicted slavery.