Good versus bad technology

When our children were small technology was becoming an issue we faced. Should our children be damaged by "too much" screen time. We had previously faced a practical issue when we lost our first child. Lynette was a computer programmer, and we researched the various claims made for radiation damage. We concluded that on it's own the risks were small. Later we found my genes were likely to have been a major factor.

In more recent years I gave up a couple of TV series I enjoyed. At school I read all the Agatha Christie novels I could. I enjoy a good criminal drama - and don't even mind the unreality of the bad guys being always caught (unless they die). But eventually I realised a couple of shows weren't helpful to me. I didn't run out and commit - or even think of committing - similar crimes. But they were about abnormal horrific crimes - most people don't think like these criminals. We used to say people like these were sick - but sadly we've become so insensitived to these crimes that today they seem almost normal.

Watching these series was a bit like inviting Hannibal Lecter into our home every week. It's certainly a far cry from my youth. In the decade I was born there were 10 murders per year. By the time I was in my teens it was nearly 30. And now it's well over 50. Per year.

I don't think these shows are "bad". Like others they usually have the good guys catching the bad. But the overall affect on me was to "damage" my mind. They fed it with negative input. When we plant the garden, we nurture the soil (as best we can) with good material, and remove bad material. It makes sense - farmers who feed and protect their soil generously get more production than those who do a bare minimum. The shows I gave up were not helpful to my mind.

In recent years I've come to appreciate the mind is little understood. For years I've heard / read people talk about concepts that were beyond my understanding and experience. The way I used to think, anything beyond human understanding in general, and my understanding in particular, is wrong. Now see that just because I don't understand doesn't automatically make it wrong.

Sadly advocates often take ideas they don't fully understand into areas where they don't produce the optimum results. An example might be meditation. Our view of meditation today is largely coloured by images from transcendental meditation, which was popularised in today's culture by the Beatles and others. Before that the concept of meditation was not emptying your mind of everything, but filling it with positive thoughts of life and God - replacing negative with positive - not with emptiness. It's good to empty out your life of the distractions and trivia that keep us from focussing on important things like caring relationships, big truths and other things that put things back into perspective.

There's little that is bad in itself - it's the effect on us that is important. We raised two children who enjoy or appreciate technology (one doesn't enjoy when things go wrong) - but both use it primarily as a tool. One uses social media a fair bit, as well as researching issues and keeping abreast of general events. The other, as part of Peter Jackson's empire, uses technology intensively. (Naturally  As they were growing up we sometimes wondered if we were being too relaxed about their familiarity with technology - but years on there's a big benefit to what some might term their "misspent youth". They can now sometimes help us with issues ????.

I remember hearing years ago an American talking about him inviting a new young friend to the ball game that day. He was shocked at the reaction, so they did something else. In time he found the guy had been a big fan of the game - so much so that to get his life back to what he knew were important, he swore off the game.

Of course this has nothing to do with technology. it's just a more general example of the principle. Things aren't usually good or bad in themselves. It's our attitude to them that makes the difference.

 

Last Modified

Last modified: 28 November 2020.