Psalm 89:47
Remember how short my time is!
For what vanity you have created all the children of man!

I signed up for a well known service a long time ago: surefire protection against identity theft. It really is about protecting my money. The Internet is a dangerous place for our money. Someone could use the Internet to take our money from us. Now apps and services are on the rise that protect against a much worse kind of Internet theft, the theft of our time.

There’s still little true awareness of this, in my opinion. We can see it most in our youngest and now our oldest generations, spending lifespans in a state of Cyber-suspended non-animation. Experiences are less lived than they are photographed for online publication. Relationships are replaced with online digital surrogates. Real people are on both ends, but the middle, the connection, the relationship, is computer-generated, not human. Texts, e-mails, and images tend to be dehumanizing precisely because they are “dehuman.” It is the age-old struggle between form and substance raising its head again. Computers can be so neat and do so many great things for us, but, like every other advance in history, basic human nature (see Genesis 3), left unchecked, hijacks them. Then they hijack us.

To my mind, it seems complicated and pointless to think about this until we realize that it all boils down to time. Spend less time on devices, spend more time living. Yes, I think we in the 21st century need to arrive at the philosophical conclusion that anything we do that involves a device cannot, by design, be defined as life. Devices can be a supportive part of a life, at best, but they cannot be and are not life itself. You are not your online presence. The online world is not reality. A large enough solar flare will soon take care of everything. Reality reminds us that life is time. When we run out of time, we run out of life, at least on this side of eternity. Machines take time. The more machines we have, the more time we give over to them. Though they can be helpful, they often are not. How much of your day or mine requires a machine to experience it, a time-sucking machine? If I think a human relationship is helped when I put a machine between me and someone else, I then have a direct relationship with that machine and an indirect, proctored relationship with the human being. It’s important to remember that the humans come first. This message may become a very important part of what the Church communicates to the world in the 21st century. People matter more than machines. Machines serve people, not the other way around. People need other people more than they need machines or devices.

This brief (time-saving) message brought to you by a human using a machine… 🙂


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