The Thing About Computers
There was an article in the paper a few days ago about a marginalized community that offered free internet and computer access to children 10 and above, so that they could get information that would help them with their homework and projects. It was a happy, feel good, positive news type of article. But is it? My heart clenched at the site of about 3 or 4 children gathered around this square box, their eyes already dilated beyond normal.
Computers are not a bad thing (I love mine) and certainly all that readily available information can be a blessing, but how and when is it a blessing and when is it a hindrance to the essential development of living thinking? We must ask: are the children being inspired to think, create, imagine, synthesize, connect-the-dots by downloading information from the internet? Or are they simply learning how to cull information or literally just download dead stuff into their brains? Are their organs and senses developed enough to manage the assault — because there is a physical dimension to computer usage and viewing, especially in children — without being overwhelmed?
What we want our children to be able to do is think–really think from a space of total creativity and imagination. From there they can bring new impulses into the world, which are very much needed to bring humanity to the next level. The world is changing so rapidly and technology along with it. If we do not know how to create that boundary between humanity and technology (in full recognition of what it brings– both good and not), we can so easily contribute to the decline of humanity in favor of technology. Already we are creating human beings in dishes and test tubes, as easily as we cook our meals, without a thought as to what that means in the greater story of our evolution. When is it progress? When is it pathology?
The evolution of humanity is not automatic, neither is our salvation. We often think of evolution and humanity in such broad strokes that we fail to see our intimate connection to its outcome–each one of us, in our everyday lives and in the choices we make. Our children are the bearers of the new world. Are we giving them the right tools or are we dulling their gifts with our limited perception and understanding of the role of technology today? Are we contributing to the upward evolution of humanity toward our higher capacities, or are we participating (albeit unconsciously) in its decline via the misuse of technology?
There is a right time for children to use computers, but it is up to us to see what context it takes in their lives. They must be the bearers of information towards the future. Let us make sure they never lose their ability to think, imagine and create.