02.68 – Are we using technology or are we being used by technology?
In today’s society, living without technology is almost impossible. As aspiring devotees living amidst this social trend, we tend to see technology as a neutral tool that can be used for devotional purposes.
What we may not realize is that our relationship with technology is not one-way, but two-way. It is not we alone who use technology; technology also uses us.
Technology is deeply, even inextricably, associated with certain uses. For example, television is so widely used for materialistic entertainment that its use for watching spiritual programs, though hypothetically possible, is practically rare. Even when we use it spiritually, we may succumb to using it sensually at any moment. After all, the temptation is just one click away – always.
Such temptations are all the more seductive because the materialistic uses of technology are far more aggressively marketed than its spiritual uses. Consequently, our use of technology frequently places us in a cultural ambience that perceptibly or imperceptibly injects us with material conceptions and desires. Due to these materialistic influences, we sometimes get carried away and waste our irreplaceable time on anti-devotional indulgences. Thus we end being used by technology or being used by those materialists who want to use our money for their materialistic ends.
To use technology safely, we need to equip ourselves with self-protection measures outlined in Gita wisdom. Firstly we need to regularly connect ourselves with Krishna through exclusive devotional activities that remind us of the devotional purpose of everything, including technology. And secondly, whenever we are in temptation zone, we need to conscientiously watch our mind and senses, as indicated in the Gita (2.68). Then and then alone will we be able to stop the materialistic ambience associated with technology from sabotaging our devotional intentions.