Ned Ludd was a weaver who lived during the period of the Industrial Revolution in England in the 18th century. Many laborers at this time were frustrated as they were being replaced by machines. In a fit of rage, Ludd overturned two knitting frames. People who despise technology have come to be called Luddites. I am no Luddite (although I am a notoriously late adopter when it comes to new technology). But I do believe that technology should be used with discernment and we ought to consistently evaluate its impact on our lives. Perhaps you might even want to implement some new patterns in these areas for the new year:
- Don’t bail out on the reality of the here and now. For some people, certain social media sites allow people to develop an inappropriate fantasy of substitution. Like a bad drug, these experiences can allow you to avoid dealing with reality.
- Don’t stop talking to people. Research indicates that many people now prefer texting to actually talking. Why is this? It seems that conversation is too demanding. People would prefer to remain in control – to answer only if they feel like it. In this way they can remain “connected” while at the same time keeping people at bay. This has created the illusion of intimacy without the constraints of relationship.
- Give people your full attention. Don’t allow that latest text message alert to take precedence over the person you are talking with. That’s just rude.
- Set boundaries and times when you (and your family) are off the grid. Maintain the dinner hour as an “electronic free zone.” I have three teenagers in my house so I know how technology can inhibit community and family dynamics. Don’t forget the importance of aloneness and reflection.
Technology is an unavoidable part of our lives and in many ways it is the language of our day. But we would be wise to establish healthy boundaries and think carefully about how it impacts our spiritual walk.