We in the First world suffer from some kind of technology-driven hubris. We spend inordinate amounts of time examining, worrying, updating and tending our technology. We preen, prune and labor in the ethereal soil of electrons and pixels.
Merriam-Webster.com defines hubris as “a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence”. It comes from the Greek word hybris. And from Theoi.com: “HYBRIS was the goddess or spirit (daimon) of insolence, violence, wantonness, reckless pride, arrogance and outrageous behaviour in general.”
Hubris is a strong word – think pride x 10. But it seems to describe us. We fawn over our tech, update it, clean it, buy it accessories, charge it, and lastly, pay for it in all kinds of ways, not just monetarily ( that is a whole other post). Whole industries are built around this need for constant maintenance.
I know my own emotional foibles with technology. I feel pain over nano-seconds of speed loss. Or I tap my fingers and get frustrated over an application misbehaving. I’d love to have back all the time I’ve spent just waiting for downloads! (Someone should calculate that…)
Why and how did all this tech become so intertwined with how we live so it now controls our moods? I’m happy when my phone is zippy, and peeved when it hangs… fingers start tapping.
I think we’ve stopped looking at them as tools, and started to think of them as companions. Like the movie “Her“: creepy, yet somehow understandable.
Our co-dependency is all too evident. Ever played the game Phone Stack? Next time you have lunch with friends or co-workers, have everyone stack their phones in the middle of the table, with strict instructions to leave it alone. This simple action actually forces us to be present in the moment. The first person to grab theirs during the meal, no matter the reason, picks up the tab. Cool, huh?
I can hear my Grandma Hazel voice right now, in that raspy, smoke-shaped way, “Awghh… computers are from the devil.” I won’t go that far. But they definitely are redefining us in ways we still don’t fully understand.
I want to know: how do you handle the constant demands, pings, calls, buzzes that your phone, laptop, tablet or car puts on you? Please share!