Unplug: Learning how to have better Relationships

Charlie Foster (unsplash.com)

I recently saw a picture of Mark Zuckerberg walking past an audience wearing Virtual Reality goggles. The audience was immersed in a virtual world and unaware that Mark was walking in their midst. The image below is supposed to symbolize a great advancement.

Mark Zuckerberg (via Facebook.com)

I was dumbfounded by this picture. I see culture zombies. Everything that we do is being controlled by technology. We have phones, watches, tablets, computers, glasses, televisions, game consoles, and the internet. We are connected to everything, but disconnected from each other.

Technology has brought us many amazing things. It allowed us to put people on the moon and cure diseases. We understand more about the world than ever before. These are great advancements. I would never want to take away the good that comes from technology. It has been said that all greatness comes at a cost. I believe that the cost of technology is our humanity.

We are losing our humanity because of technology. Think about this with me. You have a question, how do you solve it? In my case I would just google an answer. I did not have to think or use reason. I was given an answer. It has stripped us of our curiosity and wonder.

If it is true that we are becoming less humane, how can we stop the bleeding? I’m not sure there is an easy answer to the epidemic. I know personally I have fallen prey. At times I feel as though my mind has been numbed by the world. I find myself unattached. I am connected, but I feel no empathy. I see a starving child on a commercial and dismiss it because it is not relevant to me. I hear stories of people being bought and sold into sex trafficking. I read articles on child slave labor. I see images of people without food or water. Somewhere deep down I care a great deal. I have been paralyzed by the lie that I cannot do anything to change their circumstances. It has become far too easy to be passive instead of proactive.

We have an opportunity to use technology to do more than ever before. I can take a picture, post it online and in seconds people around the world can comment or like it. I can send money, messages, tweets, videos, or anything else to someone in a matter of seconds. I can fly around the world in hours. We have been given one of the greatest powers known to the world. It is true what they say, “With much power comes great responsibility.” We have more responsibility to help others now than ever before. We have been given the ability to change the world.

Technology has become a distraction. It has become a way to escape reality. We play mind-numbing games. We spend countless hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Reddit, and anything that entertains us. We spend days binge watching our favorite TV shows on Netflix. At what cost? How many hours have we wasted. How many hours do we have left? Not to be morbid, but the average lifespan of an American male is 76 years. That is 671,979 hours. You only have 168 hours in a week. That leaves you with 128 hours if you work 40 hours a week. If you get 8 hours of sleep a day, you have 72 hours per week. What are you doing with your 72 hours?

How can we go from being consumed and controlled by technology to people who control and use technology to serve others?

Humans are unlike any other creature. We have minds to think rationally, communicate verbally, and empathize with others. Most importantly we have the ability to love.

We were not made to spend our lives on the internet. We were meant to spend our lives with people. God created us in his image. God is love. We were created to love God and to love others. How can we love others if we spend all of our free time being self indulged in a virtual world?

I give you this challenge:

Create a list of the ways that technology has influenced your life, good and bad. How has Facebook made you a better friend? Has Twitter helped you communicate effectively? Does Instagram truly portray your life? Does having your phone make it easier to get to know people? I guarantee you that the list of bad far outweighs the good.

I am not telling you to delete your Facebook. I am not telling you that technology is bad. What I am saying is that we need to reevaluate the effect that it is having on our lives. I want you to spend more time in the real world. Put down your phone when you are with friends. Stop wasting the 72 hours you have been given. Start making a difference today.

We are all connected. The 10 million people in Delhi, India that have no water. The millions that are enslaved in sex trafficking. The homeless man down the street. The child whose parents aren’t around. Everyone is capable of making a difference in the life of someone else. Stop making excuses and being consumed by the media. I don’t care how hard your life is. I don’t care how much money you have. I don’t care where you live. What matters is that you do your best to love someone else. We need each other, and together we can change the world.

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