We’re learning this morning that the iPhone 5 will be unveiled on September 12 and available in stores nine days later. September 21 is also International Peace Day, but if previous chaos at Apple Stores is any clue, there won’t be much peace around the new phone’s launch. Search traffic has already skyrocketed, fueled by rumors about the phone and its predicted capabilities.
Ahead of the launch, a video genius has produced a spoof on the new phone. You’ll have to watch it to get the full effect, but to summarize: the iPhone 5 does nothing but photograph restaurant food so we can send pictures to suggest we’re more socially active and popular than we really are. When I saw the video yesterday, my first thought was that it is really funny. My second thought was that it is really sad.
A recent Newsweek cover story was titled: “iCRAZY: Panic. Depression. Psychosis. How connection addiction is rewiring our brains.” Researchers have discovered that Internet activity can produce dopamine in our brains, the same chemical that addicts smokers to nicotine or drug users to cocaine or heroin. A scale has now been created by psychologists to measure Facebook addiction. One psychologist says, “The great thing about modern life is you can do so much, and the curse of modern life is you can do so much.” He warns that this new epidemic is “as harmful . . . as obesity or cigarette smoking.” Headaches, insomnia, and toxic stress result.
What should we do? Experts advise us to create short periods of inaccessibility during the day. Leave mobile technology at home when we can (on Saturday, for instance). And create boundaries—set intervals to check email, turn off tools that interrupt us with new messages, etc.
All good advice, but there’s something more dangerous at work here. Our technology-induced busyness addiction betrays a deep sense of meaningless in our culture. For decades we’ve believed a lie: there’s no such thing as objective truth, just “your truth” and “my truth.” Reality is what you say it is. Life has no inherent meaning or value. As philosopher Martin Heidegger said, you’re an actor on a stage—no script, director, audience, past or future. Courage is facing life as it is.
In a world without direction, we stay as busy as we can, hoping something we do will bring us fulfillment. Possessions + popularity = purpose. But nothing can fill the God-shaped emptiness in us except God. We were made for an intimate, continuous, transforming relationship with our Maker. Like a car without gas, our souls run down if they are not connected to the Power they were created to need.
So disconnect from technology and create boundaries, but connect with the Spirit. Make time all through this day to get alone with your Father. Follow Martin Luther‘s advice: “Pray and let God worry.” When will you meet with God next?