Informationism


This week’s subject is one that is near to me. Last year, I realized that I was addicted to my computer, iPod and the internet. I had been trying to hide from my emotions by being constantly occupied with my computer. While I was mostly able to cover my fears, I was depressed from lack of intimacy with others. Postman states, “The computer is, in a sense, a magnificent toy that distracts us from facing what we most needed to confront — spiritual emptiness, knowledge of ourselves, usable conceptions of the past and future.” (Postman, 1990)

Schultze states, “Informationism encourages informational promiscuity: impersonal relationships based on feigned intimacies and lacking moral integrity.” (Schultze, 2002, p.35) I was being promiscuous with my children and husband. For example, my daughter was being bullied. She was acting strangely, getting poor grades and saying that she wished she were dead. I should have seen those signs, but the computer blinded me.

I do agree with what Postman says about technology having winners and losers. (Postman, 1992) We have given up a lot by our dependency on technology. Tamara noted that some technologies get pushed out by newer ones, like phonebooks for online directories. She points out that this causes us to forget how to use the older technologies.
I think of handwriting. No one takes time to learn to write beautifully anymore. Instead we learn a new texting language. That is useful in it’s own way, but so is handwriting.

Kevin D. Miller writes, “…the Amish have managed to keep technology in check, and in doing so they have fostered a sense of community that many of us yearn for in our electronically tethered and frenetically paced lives.” (Miller, 2011, p.20) I hope that by the end of this class I will have learned how to use technology in a discretionary way.



——————————————-
Miller, K. D. “Technological prudence: What the Amish can teach us.” Christian
reflection: A series in faith and ethics. 38 (2011): 20-28. Print.
Postman, N. (11 Oct. 1990). “Informing ourselves to death.” [Speech] Retrieved
from http://www.mat.upm.es/~jcm/postman-informing.html
Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York,
NY: Vintage.
Schultze, Q. J. (2002). Habits of the High-Tech Heart: Living Virtuously in the
Information Age. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Tarrance, T. (2011, February 1). TTarrance – Week 1 [Msg. 1] Message posted to:
https://sauonline.arbor.edu

Informationism is a concern for Christians because it causes us to replace God and His work with technology and the promises it makes to us. I have, personally, let this happen.

Last year, I realized that I was addicted to “surfing” the internet. I was on my computer or my iPod Touch all day long. I rejoiced in being ahead of everyone else in internet “knowledge”.

My children could not speak to me without my eyes continually straying to the computer on my lap. When I realized what was happening and fasted from my computer and iPod, I went through a withdrawal period that scared me. It was obvious that I cared more for the internet than my family. Once I got to the other side of the withdrawal symptoms, it was like the world had become more vibrant and alive.

What Postman and Winner say about technology and information also strikes home with me. My adoption of technological devices went too far. I gave up the joy of laughter with my children and the joy of a pleasant and clean home. I also gave up a real knowledge of my family. I was disseminating them like I did the internet. Of course, with my addiction in continual check, I have gained the ability to learn via this program. I don’t believe I would have ever gone to school in a traditional setting again.

Progress is always a two-sided sword. As Postman states, there are always winners and losers. It is hard for me to say that it hasn’t made the world a better place in that I do not want to wash my clothes in tub of water outside, for example. But morally, I think that all of this technology has contributed to a decline. People do not see a need for relying on God any more. After all, they have machines to take care of them.