• Patrick McAndrew

The Low Tech Hypocrite! Can I Use Technology?

I have been primarily receiving two types of reactions to The Low Tech Trek: people with positive vibes for the message and relative indifference.  I have to admit, I sometimes wonder whether people are interested in the topic of “low-tech.”  Sure, we can get onboard with the “connecting to one another, “more face-to-face interaction,” and “more empathy.”  That is a LARGE part of this blog; to discuss how these things are in jeopardy (Alex…I will choose What is Empathy?  Because I don’t know how to interact with people anymore).

It’s safe to say that all of us agree that these things (empathy, human connection, etc.) are important.  But “low-tech”?  “Pish-posh, applesauce!  You are but a naïve, wee little cherub, Sir Patrick! A chubby little angel baby!  For we are in the information age!  An age of unlimited possibilities!  An age where technology will jumpstart us to more efficient and incredibly more rewarding lives!  Low-tech?  More like…loser, loser, with a twist, whatever, as if, get the picture on your Snapchat before it disappears for-ev-aaa! LOL!”

It’s often that I am looked at funny or perhaps minorly judged for my low-tech tendencies.  In some ways, I think it’s funny too, so I giggle along.  There are some rare occasions where my efforts are applauded, but less often than not.  And yet, I do believe that I keep up with the times.  Does this make me a hippogriff?  A hippopotamus?  A hypocrite? (there it is).  Can I really share my thoughts on serious concerns about technology online?  Am I a luddite (one who shows technophobic tendencies)?

I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of technology.  If it were not for technology, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.  I wouldn’t be able to contact people of importance.  Or I wouldn’t be able to hear about an upcoming event I wish to attend (at least not as quickly).  As I’ve said in a few posts, technology has a great many things to offer us and I believe it is essential in order for the world to progress.  Technology allows for many great inventions to manifest into reality.  Hence, why I use technology.  I see its multitude of positive uses.

The concern is when we stop using technology as a tool and start using technology as a means of fixation.  Technology, be it the internet or the smartphone, are amazing when needed as a tool.  Need to communicate something to a co-worker?  BAM! Message sent. Need to research a topic in an online journal?  Google the plethora of resources at your disposal!  Technology is a great tool, but it’s a terrible crutch.  My worry is that society is using technology as a crutch nowadays, to adhere to our personal boredom or need for recognition.  Scroll Facebook newsfeed.  Go on Tinder.  Check your e-mail.  Send Snapchat messages.  Watch YouTube videos.  Seconds turn into minutes which turn into hours.  Time, arguably our scarcest resource, is washed away because we choose to fill up our time in unproductive ways.

But do we really choose?  Check out my other post, The Vulnerabilities of Our Minds, to learn more about that!  Anyway, we are all guilty of this.  I certainly am.  When we use technology for something other than a tool, we become a victim to what it’s throwing at us.  This, in turn, interrupts our daily lives on a regular basis, whether we are eating dinner with a close friend or loved one, at a party or get-together, or even alone reading a book.  We allow our devices to dictate where our attention is at.  Instead of us having control over the technology, it has control over us.

So perhaps it may be somewhat hypocritical that I talk about how important it is to find a balance with technology while I use the technology myself.  But because technology has so much to offer, I think it’s important to utilize technology to its fullest.  That doesn’t mean having it control your life by constantly sending you bings and buzzes that your mind is now rewired to answer without even thinking twice.

What are your thoughts?  Am I a hypocrite?  Should technology just be used as a tool?  Is technology really starting to control our lives?  Or am I blowing smoke? Comment below!


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