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Greetings dear friends & welcome to my world again this week. Today I want to begin with a confession.  Hi, my name is Kenn & I am a technology addict.  Following my last article a fortnight ago & one month into lock-down, I want to talk to you about technology & your soul.

And yes, there is a certain irony you are reading this article on one of your technology devices. Contrary to common opinion, I do actually enjoy living in the age of technology.  I certainly would not say I love gadgets.  However, I do like being able to communicate by e-mail. I love being able to do WhatsApp with my two Japiwis ~ grandchildren in Japan.  I have learned to live with apps to assist me organize my world.  I love being able to bank online. I have not regretfully been able to master google maps to get where I want to go in my car yet…
But not all uses of technology are so noble or beneficial. The implications of technology & having a healthy soul are staggering.  Having a soul at peace requires space & quiet & stillness & pause.  However, all of our gadgets fight to consume every morsel of time & attention in our lives.

Technology is overtaking every area of life & the speed of advancement is mind blowing.                                                                                                                  Many much more erudite & learned people than I are experts at maximizing technology, but not so at managing it. We are good at leveraging technology, not so at limiting it.

In 1958, a scientist at Texas Instruments developed the first-ever integrated circuit. It had two transistors (the more, the better) with a "gate process length" (the smaller, the better) of about ½ inch.

Fast forward to 1971 The Intel 4004 had 2,300 transistors with a gate length of 10,000 nanometres, and computer power of about 740 KHz.  By the way, a nanometre is one billionth of one inch.

In 2012, NVidia released a new graphical processor unit (GPU) with 7.1 billion transistors, a gate length of 28 nanometres, and processing power of 7GHz. I understand none of this, but clearly we are using better & faster tools to design & build better & faster tools.

In human history, the dawn of the internet was a total game changer. The advent of technology brought a tectonic shift in our culture. We will not turn back the clock to a quieter, simpler, slower, more “unplugged” time.  The blessings & burdens of technology continue to work their way into every nook & cranny in our lives.  It is no wonder most people spend an average of eight hours every day staring at some kind of screen.

Of those 18-24, 75% said they check their phone before they get out of bed.
Once out of bed, we check our phones once every 4.3 minutes, or 221 times a day.
It is hard to believe that the internet has been around 50 years.
I love the following quote: The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going & pay the penalty.  [1]

According to this, two qualities qualify you as smart.  First, you look down the road & see trouble coming. Smart people are not naïve. Smart people do not go looking for trouble, but they are able to see it coming down the road. 

In contrast, the simple person walks in blindly.  There is nothing wrong with them. They are just foolish & lack good judgment. I think the author is talking about walking into a situation which could have been & should have been avoided.  Smart people are on the lookout for danger.

Secondly, the smart person not only discerns trouble, they DUCK! They make the necessary adjustment to get out of the way of trouble. You do not get points for only seeing the trouble coming.  In fact, you are worse than simple if you see the trouble coming & do not get out of the way.

We all know the dark side of technology. But there are a growing list of subtle downsides more socially acceptable. When it comes to the topic of technology, the wise person is not naïve to the more subtle, shadow side of technology.

Since I have been studying this issue & becoming more aware of it, I have begun to “feel” the impact of technology on my life & soul.

I feel it when I try to read my National Business review online, following cancellation of my paper copy every Friday. I have a hard time focusing on what I am reading. I feel it when I without conscious thought reach for my phone any time I have a few spare seconds. I feel it when I am supposed to be having a conversation with my wife. I feel it when I am distracted by every new text message. 

The truth is I am finding it increasingly difficult to focus, pay attention for very long, be present in a conversation, have undistracted thoughts, read deeply, enjoy a quiet drive, or be alone with my thoughts. In many respects, I do not like what constant engagement with technology does to me. 

Perhaps, this week, if you can empathise with my thoughts here, we all try to pay attention to how much we are plugged into our technology.

I hope my comments each week are helpful dear readers; & again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson. With my best wishes, I look forward to connecting with you again soon.

[1] Proverbs 22:3

Kenn Butler
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