Is Technology Truly Connecting Us?

I received the below text in an email from Leighton Ford, a long-time hero of mine and author of The Attentive Life, a beautiful book on silence, prayer, and a rhythm of contemplation before God.   I’ve gleaned much wisdom from Leighton over the years.

I’d love to hear what you think about what’s written below.  I can certainly relate.



(From The Flight From Conversation, by Sherry Turkle. NYTimes Sunday Review)

We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship.  Always-on/always-on-you devices provide three powerful fantasies:

that we will always be heard;

that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be;

and that we never have to be alone.

Indeed our new devices have turned being alone into a problem that can be solved.

When people are alone, even for a few moments, they fidget and reach for a device.  Here connection works like a symptom, not a cure, and our constant, reflexive impulse to connect shapes a new way of being.

Think of it as “I share, therefore I am.”  We use technology to define ourselves by sharing our thoughts and feelings as we’re having them.  We used to think, “I have a feeling; I want to make a call.”  Now our impulse is, “I want to have a feeling; I need to send a text.”

So, in order to feel more, and to feel more like ourselves, we connect.  But in our rush to connect, we flee from solitude, our ability to be separate and gather ourselves.  Lacking the capacity for solitude, we turn in to other people but don’t experience them as they are.  It is as though we use them, need them as spare parts to support our increasingly fragile selves.

We think constant connection will make us feel less lonely.  The opposite is true.  If we are unable to be alone, we are far more likely to be lonely.  If we don’t teach our children to be alone, they will know only to be lonely.

(By Sherry Turkle, psychologist and professor at MIT, in NYTimes Sunday Review,
April 22, 2012)

Leighton Ford, May 2012


One response to “Is Technology Truly Connecting Us?

  1. It is very true~
    It is a gift of God that some people can put into a word what they think so clearly^^ Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s