What You Can Do About Real World Cyber Effects, 1.0

What You Can Do about Real World Cyber Effect, 1.0

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There is a discussion about whether cyberspace is real or not. We know what a real, tactile place is, but what is cyberspace? You can’t touch or feel it. Is it real? If you were to make a case for cyberspace being real, how would you steel man your position? The arguments are compelling on both sides, but there is a more straightforward way to cut through the debate. The next time someone is on their phone, converse with them. Are they “with you” or somewhere else, regardless of how you define that other place?

In This Series:

Is It Real?

As texting and driving have proven in dramatic and horrific ways, you are somewhere else when you’re on your phone. You have been behind that person at the traffic light as you “patiently” waited for them to get off their phones so everyone could continue their day. Most folks understand that you can’t do two things simultaneously well. Regarding technology, if it’s in front of you, whoever else is with you is the second fiddle. Technology not only isolates us in our cyber-chambers but it speeds us up, creating fast-paced mindsets that trick us into thinking that we must accomplish more faster.

There is no desire to eliminate hurry from our lives as we calculate which line in the store is moving more quickly so we can get in it to gain that precious extra two seconds. After we pick our line, we must leave the building before the person behind us who chose the other line. (Perhaps I’m only speaking to the men here.) We park close to the door to get in and out quickly because time is valuable. Our tech addiction is imperceptible as our minds leave the natural world and relationships, preoccupying us with the tyranny of the urgent. Those who build these platforms and devices understand our idolatries as they gamify their machines to entice the unaware. We eagerly watch the dots bubble up, waiting to see what’s coming from cyberspace as our real-world relationships wait for us to return.

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Distraction and distance from others are the death knell to personal holiness and redemptive relationships. Then, there is the sabotaging of our memory banks. Nothing sticks if more than one thing competes for our minds’ dominance. Our sanctification suffers; our relationships do not mature, and the zeitgeist wins the battle for our minds. Sitting still, being patient, waiting our turn, making eye contact, and enjoying a long-form, undistracted conversation with a friend is from an era when folks had the time to sit on the porch, enjoy the sunset, and build a lasting relationship with a spouse, family member, friend, or neighbor. Today, our front porches are small and barren places to plop our pumpkins, and our back decks are huge with grills as we isolate from folks while drifting off to cyberspace.

Call to Action

  1. Is cyberspace a real place or not? What are your arguments to support your position?
  2. What happens when you’re talking to someone and their phone buzzes? Do they stay with your conversation, or do they break off to respond to the buzz? Is that a problem for you?
  3. Do you habitually respond to your phone when it beckons, even when conversing with someone? If so, what would be a better practice?
  4. Will you talk to a family member about your relationship with them and your devices? How have you affected them—negatively or positively—with your technology practices?
  5. What one tech change will you implement to slow down and eliminate hurry from your life?

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