Technology and Distraction

A generation or two ago, there was big controversy over television. Television was shortening our attention spans, and grave results were predicted by educators and psychologists.

By the time infrared remotes appeared in our hands, "channel surfing" became a great way to expedite the process. Didn't like this scene in a movie? Click around a bit, maybe there's something else on one of the other 500 channels!

(Note: In the olden-pre-remote-days, sometimes you'd be too tired or lazy to actually get up and walk over to the TV, so you just suffered through the boring parts or the commercials. What fortitude our technological ancestors had!)

Today I stumbled across this interesting post that resonated with some of my thoughts on this topic:

The "always on" nature of our digital lives distracts us and turns us into addicted "slot-machine players" who are constantly hoping to get some kind of information fix from our computers and phones. Our brains lose their ability to rest, be bored, and be creative. Instead, we're constantly craving digital stimulation.

Worse, it affects our interpersonal relationships:

"We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. Digital connections offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. We expect more from technology and less from each other".

And here:

"There is something more important than you and it's not here in this room."

Constant distraction and entertainment are the enemies of clear, deliberate thought, AND they ruin our ability to relate to one another ("hang on, I gotta take this call.")

And talk about our attention span...Concepts and ideas that require patient explanation are destined to wither away and be cast off as irrelevant in such a world. How could it be otherwise?

Imagine a world where people are able to turn off their phones and spend two uninterrupted hours studying Scripture, or navigating Christian Dogmatics? Where does one find the time to practice endless hours of boring scales and etudes?

In a world where people cannot be bothered to do these things, what happens?

What kind of Theology appears in the place of such difficult reasoning?

What kind of Music is played by people with no time or patience to practice?