Sunday, July 6, 2008

Technology and the Decline of Rest

I recently read the following in a tech-oriented magazine: "Thanks to laptops, e-mail, and ubiquitous Internet access, we can stay on the job 24-7 no matter where we happen to be." The rest of the article is about various technologies that can help us work anywhere, anytime.

One thing that concerns me about the rise of the 24-7 work mentality, particularly in relation to technology, is a lack of careful consideration--or any consideration at all--to the philosophy of technology. We no longer even seem to have a sense of Toffler's "future shock"--the idea that we're experiencing too much change in too short a period.

While Toffler thought people would become overwhelmed by the dramatic shifts in our society--shocked, stunned, and disoriented by the changes (and some are)--it seems most are not shocked, but are instead just going along with the changes without much thought about the implications to society or, more importantly, the implications to humanity and individuals.

In relation to the 24-7 work mentality comes the decline of times of rest. We have lost a sense of the Sabbath rest concept--the 4th Commandment (Exodus 20:8-10). We were not made to work all the time, but technology can press work upon us, or we can pursue work, anytime and anywhere. Hence, the slavery of some to 24-7 e-mail.

Times of rest should not be approached rigidly (legalism), but neither should we toss out the underlying concepts of the 4th Commandment under the banner of extreme Christian freedom (antinomianism).

May we make room for times of rest and silence.

"My soul finds rest in God alone ..." -Psalm 62:1

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." -Matthew 11:29

1 comment:

The Gyrovague said...

I was listening to Dobson a week or two ago and he had a speaker talking about Anhedonia, the seeking more and more pleasure out of things until our hard wiring in our brain just sort of short circuts.

All this 34/7 technology easily leads to the working through the sabbath, and then when not working using the computer for play as well. Not good.

I have tried, and not been always successful, to impliment a technology fast with my sabbath. Read a book, go for a walk, play family games, but dont touch the computer, and prefferebly not the T.V. either.