Our relationship to computers, or to the social networks we use online, can’t be separated from our relationship to language, that fundamental human technology. But computing technology is rather new and poorly understood considering how much we use it. We need to understand how computers are continuous with all the other kinds of technology we use to affect our world. All our technologies extend our innate knowledge and power. The key is to learn to exercise all our technology with the same sense of responsibility, whether it’s digital, analog, mental, or physical.
In order to do that, though, we must be careful to understand what technology changes about human life. When the applications of our knowledge change the world around us, we have to adjust. We have to update our internal technologies, our spiritual technologies, to adapt to new outside realities.
Our use of high technology can fragment our attention, trigger our insecurities and traumas, interfere with our relationships, and violate our privacy. But these consequences are not problems with “technology.” They’re the side effects of some technologies, and they can be remedied in turn with other technologies. We have mindfulness technologies to train our minds and hearts to concentrate on the good. We have community technologies that can promote inclusivity and authenticity. Spiritual practice is technology, and it’s vital in adapting our lives to the digital age.
From Chapter 2: “What Is Technology?”