How to Become a Technological Idiot

The Right/Wrong Dichotomy

BucketsJohn Dyer, over at don’t eat the fruit, writes about the typical Christian response to technology.

One of Christianity’s greatest strengths is that it is deeply concerned with morality. However, when it comes to thinking about technology, this strength often turns into a major weakness.

It’s great for us to be thinking about how to please our Savior, redeem the world, and earn more crownage (2 Tim 4:8), but sometimes this leads us to putting everything we encounter into either a “right” bucket or “wrong” bucket. Then, when something comes along that’s neither clearly moral or immoral, the only “bucket” we have left is the amoral “how we use it” bucket.

If this is as far as we can go, then our moral thinking has put a major limitation on us.

Marshall McLuhan wrote,

Our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how they are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot.  (Understanding Media, 17-18)

McLuhan is saying that we become “technological idiots” when we simply place all technology in the “how you use it” bucket without understanding that any use of technology – for immoral or moral ends – will have some effect on us. In other words, we need more buckets for thinking about technology. We need to be able to discuss cognitive, relational, and physical effects of technology without immediately reverting into “good,” “bad,” or “how you use it” categories.

How do we think about technology? Do we think about technology, or just about its “uses?” Are sites like facebook actually a deterrent to meaningful relationships? Does the overabundance of information on the internet really cause us to think less, and less deeply?

Read the whole article and the article by Carl Trueman to which he links.

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2 thoughts on “How to Become a Technological Idiot”

  1. Love the subject! interesting paring of Christianity and Technology. I’ve never thought of it in those realms other than “bad” uses of technology, or “immoral” as you put it. One detriment of technology is that it has decreased our ability to interact with each other face to face. As I tell my friends, the younger generations what to connect, just not face to face. Technologies like Facebook make it easy to connect superficially, but never “really” connect. Imagine Jesus only spoke to us via his Facebook page. Not much of a relationship there!

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