Three electronic problems I’ve faced in the last couple of months:
1. I recently replaced my phone.
2. My camera has broken.
3. My iPod now rarely functions when connected to speakers, docks or laptops and keeps resetting itself… in the process of breaking.
My immediate response to all of this to go aaaaaahhhhhhhhh blimmin’ heck.
My phone’s bluetooth doesn’t respond to my notebook, so I find myself unable to preserve photographs. I feel somehow vulnerable without my dear camera. And a malfunctioning iPod is never good… a(n atheist) friend of mine told me he had named his iPod the “GodPod”, because of it’s immense importance in his life. Now whilst I don’t worship my iPod, it is something I have grown used to using every day, and can’t imagine not having. My Taizé and Einaudi are a part of my daily routine!
All this has made me think about how much we seem to rely on electronics in our lives.
Late this afternoon in a Religious Studies revision class, we were revising the topic of War and Peace, and Suzanne (our teacher) said:
“Whilst a lot of people may laugh at the idea of oil being a just cause for war, it’s amazing how much we really depend on it. Our hospitals wouldn’t function, we wouldn’t be able to travel at night, and the dependence on the social system with mobiles and email means we’d probably have an economic and social meltdown, and the whole country would probably collapse. So what about oil? A just cause?”
Well of course I answered no. (For more of a look into my pacifistic approach see Love Which Burns Within Us.)
Last Wednesday I sat down for evening prayer with 3 fellow disciples (the Latin discipulus meaning learners), and Angela spoke of our electronic dependence and how we need to remember to pull together as a community and remember that real contact face-to-face and a truly loving society is what we should be prioritizing.
A book I read rather a long time ago (Last Light by Terri Blackstock) also spoke of that economic dependency we have, and illustrated superbly ways in which we should come together, and find happiness in the beautiful world that God has created for us, alongside the beautiful people that God has breathed into.
Whilst I pray I will hopefully soon find myself another camera, and hope that my iPod can last out a while longer, I’m learning to be less dependent. Lent has always taught me a lot about letting material attachments go and letting love and God come in to sustain.
And as in recent weeks I have occasionally turned off my mobile and placed it away from me, I let the sounds of nature and of silence into my ears, and I let the beauty of the world be seen by my eyes and remembered, rather than feeling sorrowful if I cannot capture it. I don’t need to put my memories in a cage, I need to let them flow freely in my mind.
Electronics are brilliant at times, don’t get me wrong. Hospital machinery and rescue boats and planes save lives. And I would sorely miss my friend in China if I could not meet up with him for a chat through the internet every few weeks. And photography is a tremendous art. But it’s terrible when people find themselves with an inability to function without it. Find themselves (and I hate this word) “bored” with (apparently) nothing to do. And some even find themselves considering warfare for it.
Let us remember how life is in it’s natural beauty. With less social networks, and more personal visits. Less emoticons and more real-life hugs! Less time listening to recordings, and more time finding ourselves deeply in the beauty of the present. I may be a Christian, but I will always be inspired by these words of the Buddha…
The secret of health for both mind and body, is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.