Young and perhaps foolish, we were trying to figure out the source of a famous quotation from Shakespeare while drinking a few beers at Pat-‘n’-Steve’s house. I disremember which quotation, but it may have been “They do not love that do not show their love.”
There was a time in the distant past when “distance education” meant sending letters to an instructor far away by post. In the long-distant past, you could do distance education by sending cassette tapes to an instructor in the mail. And just yesterday, distance education was about sitting down in front of a desktop or laptop computer and doing education over the internet.
Smart phones give us instant connection to friends far away – and often distance from those sitting next to us. They give access to global information – and fake news. Increased safety for teens – and cyber-bullying. Direct participation in political life – and interference in elections.
Last September, I bought my first smartphone. The next day, I flew home to Ottawa because my father had been moved into a hospice and the doctors said he wouldn’t have long.
I remember the moment vividly: I looked down and realized my phone was covered in flour. “That can’t be good,” I thought to myself. How else would I share this beautiful experience of baking bread? I need photos! Instagram! Snapchat!
Our kids love a song by Steve Poltz and Danny Michel called “Devices.” With a chorus of “Get off your devices / They’ve all become vices,” these Canadian singer-songwriters don’t mince words about the negative impact of phones and tablets.
From where I sit, I see little that connects the intelligence community (CSIS, CIA, etc.) with the medical practice of my doctor. But a recent perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests it might be beneficial for the medical world to explore how the intelligence world is handling information.
Technology has brought remarkable changes to the world, and these changes are accelerating with new advances in medicine, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and the worldwide “internet of things,” to name only a few. The most dramatic change, however, may be invisible to us – a change to the way we think.
I have been tempted to send my saliva sample to Ancestry.ca and spend the hundred dollars or so to get a DNA analysis of my cultural heritage.
In Canada, steadily rising energy costs can cause financial hardship. The Fraser Institute reports that over a million Canadian households now spend more than 10 percent of their income on electricity and heating, which, it says, “should be of central concern when policies regarding energy are being devised.” Globally, many people have no access to an electrical grid; if this affects their quality of life it’s known as “energy poverty.”
This perspective raises concerns for me. First, we believe that Christ is Lord over all creation; there is no square inch that is not our Lord’s. Therefore, science too is subject to our Lord’s ownership. Does this change how we do science? Do Christians and atheists approach science differently? Does our worldview matter in science?
The seemingly casual decisions we make about purchasing, repairing and disposing of our electronics are one way we respond to God’s call to care for the earth. After all, all of life is religious.