Monthly Archives: December 2013

Humans are Social Animals

Technology makes the world smaller. It reunites lost pets (and teddy bears) with their children. It lets us find our tribe – even if they live halfway around the world.  When I hear people argue that technology (and especially social media) is “bad” for you, I think about all the people who argued passionately that the earth was flat and that ships would sail right off the edge. The world is not a stagnant place. Society (and hopefully thinking) evolves. Refusing to adapt doesn’t make you brave and it doesn’t make the Earth any less round.

Friends are not any truer or realer just because they live next door or down the street. Some of my most meaningful friendships started online.  It’s likely that without technology I would have never met or even heard of many of my friends.  Social media allows us to connect with others who share our passions. That is a gift – not a curse.

Likewise, social media asks us to examine ourselves on a daily basis. Some might see that as narcissism (and in some people it may be,) but I believe that only good can come from introspection. Seeing yourself reflected in the eyes of social media makes you take a serious look at just who you are and what you believe. Seeing others argue against (or for) things in which you believe, makes you consider your own beliefs and that reflection can lead to a deeper understanding of those things you hold dear, as well as your own soul.

All technology – from the printing press to the iPhone – has had its champions, as well as its enemies. There are always going to be those who rail against change – either out of fear and ignorance or some mistaken view that all progress is the enemy of tradition.  It can be argued, if anything, that connecting with traditions, beliefs, and hearing stories from around the world only enriches our understanding of our own history.

After all, there is no faith in dogma and there is no knowledge in rhetoric. Saint Augustine wrote “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”  Today that’s no longer true. Technology has opened the world to those who can’t travel physically and opened our minds to a world beyond our own small horizons. Only good can come from taking a step outside our doors – even if that step is virtual.

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