Call me old-fashioned, but I think technology is a little overrated.
Yes, we can have pretty much anything we want delivered to us without even putting on pants. Yes, we don’t have to go through the hassle of making real friends when we can easily connect with people online. Yes, we don’t even need to know where we’re going before we get in the car.
But just because we have unlimited power at our fingertips, doesn’t mean that we need to use it.
I learned this the hard way while spending an incredible 10 days driving around southern Ireland with my fiancé.
Thanks to my stubborn (i.e. cheap) stance on not buying an international data plan, we were forced to navigate without the help of the internet.
Instead, we decided to rough it and use real a map.
What’s a “real” map, you ask? Think Google Maps but analogue.
I know what you’re thinking: “If this map you speak of is paper, then how does it update to let you know where you are?”
That’s the beauty of it — it doesn’t. No turn-by-turn directions. No continuous ETA. Just you, the open road, and a whole lot of confusion.
Confusion isn’t always a bad thing. For us, it led to many surprising places and the occasional random adventure.
In our case, J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous quote, “Not all those who wander are lost” couldn’t have been further from the truth. We were both wandering and lost…and it felt great.
Once we reached each city, we made it a habit to park the car and simply roam around until we came across a cafe or pub that tickled our fancy. Thanks to this (lack of a) strategy, we found hidden gems, met plenty of locals, and shared serendipitous conversations.
I can’t think of a better way to spend your time.
Thanks to the brutal efficiency of Google Maps and other helpful technologies, we miss these fleeting opportunities every single day.
We’re too busy with our heads down in our phones to realize life is literally passing us by.
In much the same way, I can’t help but shun the invention of the audiobook.
I am one of the few remaining humans left who hasn’t ever listened to one, simply because I prefer its physical counterpart.
Call me old-fashioned, but I love the smell of a brand new book freshly off the shelf. I yearn for the feeling of accomplishment that comes with turning each crisp page. Heck, I even enjoy transforming mundane items such as receipts and coupons into useful bookmarks.
I’m not completely blind to the utility of e-books. As someone who listens to podcasts at 2x speed, I understand the convenience of “reading” while in the car or at work. We’re all obsessed with productivity hacks and using multitasking as a misplaced badge of honor.
The thing is, I retain what I read much better when I actually read it. I want to build the magical world of Harry Potter for myself instead of having someone else do it for me, even if it is the insanely-talented Jim Dale (look him up, seriously).
Judging by these words, you may think I’m an old curmudgeon who despises technology. Quite the opposite — I’m just like any other millennial who’s addicted to Instagram and spends most of his day behind a laptop.
My only issue with technology is that many of us rely on it to get by.
We have become crippled thanks to our dependence on technology to perform basic human functions, like talking to others and finding our way from point A to point B.
Instead, we should be using it to enhance our lives, not ruin them.
What does this look like?
Using technology to amplify our ideas instead of our gossip. Talking with others who may not share our perspectives rather than publicly crucifying them. Embracing technology in order to learn and create instead of mindlessly consuming.
When used correctly, technology is an amazing way to make giant leaps forward.
That doesn’t mean we don’t need it to get started.
But hey, what do I know? I’m old-fashioned.
This post reflects the views and experiences of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Or, if you’d like to hear some overall thoughts on technology from Christians at THRED, you can find those over here.