In today’s age of circuit boards, wireless networks and endless information, it is not difficult to get lost in the ease and convenience of accessibility. We live in a world that demands us to be up to speed and down with the language of a technological age, an age that replaces the touch of a hand with the touch of a number pad, an age separated by wires and hard drives, which promote a genuine disdain of real human interaction.
In this modern world, we live to please ourselves, and that is what technology has taught us. With the click of a button, anything can be attained, and it takes little effort for immense gratification. It’s easy to get lost in this lie, to become trapped in the prison that technology threatens to hold us in because the deception is spreading like a fatal virus. In our suburbs, our cars, our iPods, our microwave dinners, our cell phones-fabricated realities-we become our own lords. These products, these ways of life, allow us to remove ourselves from the world around us to the point where we are left to ourselves.
Technology makes way for individualism, and this is true in almost every walk of life. From our jobs to our homes to our relationships, the circuit board has somehow managed to change the way that we live, change the means by which we approach our lives. We have replaced the sound of a voice with the noise of a clicking keyboard. We’ve settled for noise, rather than the absence of it to soothe our souls. We’ve apathetically shut out one another in exchange for ourselves, and it is killing us.
In doing these things, we have created giant gaps between people, allowing distance to be an excuse rather than a problem. Instead of bringing people together, the devices that we use have turned the gap into a god-shaped hole, and we’re filling the hole with more lies-lies that say we do not need each other, that we can be our own gods in our own worlds and in our own way in order that the suffering of our lives might be eased if only for a moment. The more that we excuse our addiction to convenience, we excuse an addiction to ourselves.
Our constant need for self-satisfaction is ultimately leading us toward a very rude awakening. When we rise from our slumber amidst the lies of modernity, we will come to realize that even more than our batteries and our wireless lives, we need each other more than anything.
Only when we get to the place where we can realize that there is no value in our stuff will we come to an understanding of what we have done to ourselves. Our Facebook status or our ability to destroy our Halo opponents says nothing about who we really are. These things are utterly meaningless because they are inherently single-minded and unable to reflect the immeasurable grace of communion with one another.
There is a certain beauty that comes in human interaction that is incomparable to any artificial reality to which we so often subjugate ourselves. There is beauty in a simple conversation over a cup of coffee with a friend. There is perfection in a kind word, a door held open with a smile or simply laughing with the people you love. There is beauty there that no evil can touch. No matter how much people hurt, no matter how great the burden of despair, there is something that we possess through one another that can be experienced on no level other than through the personal relationship.
As easy and satisfying as it is to reach for an iPod and shut yourself out from other people, there is always greater satisfaction in those people. As St. Augustine insisted: the greater joy is always preceded by the deeper pain. The pain is having to live with people who often eat away at our souls, but there is much greater satisfaction in finding ourselves together in the bond of love, and growing with one another, rather than apart from each other, divided by the walls that we build with our individualism.
It’s time to stop settling for less. When we break down the walls that hold us back from one another, we find that what we longed to look and taste like the real thing is only a bitter reminder of how hopelessly we care for ourselves and how desperately we need each other.