The ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.
Now I think ultimately our hope is certainly that people can feel and taste the goodness of God and to find the salvation in Jesus's love and sacrifice. Sometimes the biggest barrier to that has been Christians and has been a Church that is numb to the poverty of the world or just sees our Christianity as a ticket into heaven while ignoring the hells of the world around us. And we're not willing to settle for that kind of Christianity. We believe in a kingdom that begins now and that the kingdom of God Jesus preached is not just something we're to go to when we die but that we're to bring down on earth as it is in heaven.
Technology presents us with a unique spiritual challenge. Because it is meant to serve us in fulfilling our created purpose, because it makes our lives easier, longer, and more comfortable, we are prone to assign to it something of a godlike status. We easily rely on technology to give our lives meaning, and we trust technology to provide an ultimate answer to the frustration of life in a fallen world. Because of this, technology is uniquely susceptible to becoming an idol, raising itself to the place of God in our lives.
When it comes to generating writing material, teenagers are gold. Their world is a narcissistic, anarchic, paranoid hell of anxieties and stresses about how they look; how popular they are or aren’t; and how fast or slowly, big or small their private parts are growing. As an observer, it’s fantastic. Hilarious, at times. Poignant and heartbreaking. It is all the stuff of great human drama because, before your eyes, you get to witness character transformation. Boy grows into man. Girl grows into woman. Writers strain to make this shit up.But – and here’s the catch – we dare not discuss any of this if we want our kids to trust us or ever talk to us again. And that’s because, lifts and pocket money aside, teenagers crave privacy – the need for which hatches both swiftly and silently while we’re sorting out the laundry. It’s as if they suddenly wake up one day creeped out by the thought of all those years we wiped their butts and helped them put on their undies and they go into lock- down. They smoke us out, put up walls, close their doors, shut down their stories, and waft, earphoned, through our homes in a shroud of hormones and appetite. Their lives – in which, until recently, we participated with Too Much Information and gross oversharing – suddenly become ‘none of our business.
Renunciation isn't a moral imperative or a form of self-denial. It's simply cooperation with the way things are: for moments do pass away, one after the other. Resisting this natural unfolding doesn't change it; resistance only makes it painful. So we renounce our resistance, our noncooperation, our stubborn refusal to enter life as it is. We renounce our fantasy of a beautiful past and an exciting future we can cherish and hold on to. Life just isn't like this. Life, time, is letting go, moment after moment. Life and time redeem themselves constantly, heal themselves constantly, only we don't know this, and much as we long to be healed and redeemed, we refuse to recognize this truth. This is why the sirens' songs are so attractive and so deadly. They propose a world of indulgence and wishful thinking, an unreal world that is seductive and destructive. (142)
Since our technology is really just an extension of ourselves, we don’t have to have contempt for its manipulability in the way we might with actual people. It’s all one big endless loop. We like the mirror and the mirror likes us. To friend a person is merely to include the person in our private hall of flattering mirrors.
I don't know why people are so shy about expressing openly in front of the world their longing for each other, the most powerful and tender natural attraction, but they pretend to be proud or indifferent and they don't consider, especially if they're young, that the sands of our life have been measured by God unto the last grain and that every carelessly wasted second of love sinks irreversibly into eternity.
At this stage of the game, I don’t have the time for patience and tolerance. Ten years ago, even five years ago, I would have listened to people ask their questions, explained to them, mollified them. No more. That time is past. Now, as Norman Mailer said in Naked and the Dead, ‘I hate everything which is not in myself.’ If it doesn’t have a direct bearing on what I’m advocating, if it doesn’t augment or stimulate my life and thinking, I don’t want to hear it. It has to add something to my life. There’s no more time for explaining and being ecumenical anymore. No more time. That’s a characteristic I share with the new generation of Satanists, which might best be termed, and has labeled itself in many ways, an ‘Apocalypse culture.’ Not that they believe in the biblical Apocalypse—the ultimate war between good and evil. Quite the contrary. But that there is an urgency, a need to get on with things and stop wailing and if it ends tomorrow, at least we’ll know we’ve lived today. It’s a ‘fiddle while Rome burns’ philosophy. It’s the Satanic philosophy. If the generation born in the 50’s grew up in the shadow of The Bomb and had to assimilate the possibility of imminent self destruction of the entire planet at any time, those born in the 60’s have had to reconcile the inevitability of our own destruction, not through the bomb but through mindless, uncontrolled overpopulation. And somehow resolve in themselves, looking at what history has taught us, that no amount of yelling, protesting, placard waving, marching, wailing—or even more constructive avenues like running for government office or trying to write books to wake people up—is going to do a damn bit of good. The majority of humans have an inborn death wish—they want to destroy themselves and everything beautiful. To finally realize that we’re living in a world after the zenith of creativity, and that we can see so clearly the mechanics of our own destruction, is a terrible realization. Most people can’t face it. They’d rather retreat to the comfort of New Age mysticism. That’s all right. All we want, those few of us who have the strength to realize what’s going on, is the freedom to create and entertain and share with each other, to preserve and cherish what we can while we can, and to build our own little citadels away from the insensitivity of the rest of the world.