This week a careless backhoe operator hit a clearly marked water line in my neighborhood while digging a hole for the installation of fiber optic cable. The project promises 100% faster Internet for subscribers. But now, because of the accident, we must boil water until test results come back sometime Monday. I commented to a friend how ironic it is that in our quest for faster speeds to stream movies and download whatever, we were thrust back to the Dark Ages, having to purify our water as if it came from a creek.

Such ironies in fact abound in our so-called “connected” day. We walk around with our ears to or our eyes on our phones and pay little attention to the people or the sights around us. We have 1000 friends or followers on social media, but don’t know the person down the street. We display some of our worst tendencies toward cruelty and stupidity sometimes when commenting on a news story or someone’s “status.” Our technology has not improved the human heart. Indeed, it has given us new and more efficient ways to humiliate and kill each other.

I’m no Luddite. The irony of my writing a blog post about the evils of how we use our fancy tools does not escape me. But I wonder sometimes if in our quest for speed and efficiency, we have forgotten how to slow down, take time truly to listen or merely enjoy silence. If we could do that, I think we would begin to recover our essential humanity, the wholeness God desires.

And that really would be progress.

© 2014 Tom Cheatham. All rights reserved.