Person-to-Person Communication vs. Technology
Recently I attended a talk given by a priest on the role of technology in our lives. Rather than focusing on technology itself in his talk, he spoke about the importance of personal relationships in man's fulfillment. On earth Jesus ministered to the whole person, body and soul; we receive the life of the Church through the sacraments, ministered by other people. The communication involved is not mere transfer of information, but a meeting of persons that is much deeper than that.
Technology separates us from that personal contact, even if it connects us in some way with more people faster than ever before. But human fulfillment lies not in IMing five people at once, as they do the same, while checking your e-mail, stock quotes, watching TV and listing to the radio, but in having real human relationships with others. I thought he spoke directly to my experience of life online, but also just how busy busy busy and distracted my life usually is, always typing, listening, reading blogs and boards, being distracted. Letting all that go is almost like entering another dimension, but you have to in order to fully communicate as a person.
Father spoke about how the religious life, especially of those in formation, is so counter-cultural--they keep a "technology fast" Monday-Saturday ("And on Sunday, you'd better get out of the way! Stampede for the computers!"), eat three meals a day together in community ("nobody in America does that anymore"), etc. It takes such a change of gears in order to interact with others in that way. But Father said, "Of course, the whole point of this is prayer. If you can't give your complete attention, and be present as a person in your totality to another human, how can you expect to be present to God."