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We live in age that has fetishised technology. Cars, computers, phones, gadgets, appliances,
TV, media players...
People invest an enormous amount of time an effort seeking, purchasing and using their technology. But at what cost?

They have changed the rules and they did it with lies. Lies that divide us and keep us scrolling on our phones for distraction while they rob us in broad daylight, while we click "like" and "buy" and obsess over conspiracies, and sell them our eyeballs until we've not only lost our bearings, we've lost our humanity.

(Death and Other Details)

The human body

Technology is re-shaping the human body:
- necks craning forward
- bent backs
- repetitive strain injuries
- teenagers with the poise and posture of the elderly
- obese bodies from sitting all day.
- appalling muscle tone

The future will no doubt see a massive increase in arthritis from using a computer mouse, mobile phone or a videogame controller.

Buffalo hump

Many adults develop 'nerd neck' - a pronounced forward leaning of the head - akin to a turtle. It comes from watching too much TV, use of mobile phones, video games, driving and the internet.
The bones are misaligned by this habit, eventually resulting in an unwanted fatty lump forming on both sides of the 7th vertebrae.
The lump acts as a counterweight for the head and actively prevents the spine from aligning correctly (and naturally). This is very unhealthy indeed. It is a lifestyle habit induced deformity.

Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger.
What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?
Look at the strength of your body, the desire in your heart.

(Conan the Barbarian)

Brain health

The notion that technology will aid human brain capacity is a myth akin to 'the paperless office'. It is not the reality. Do some research on-line.
See what the exam expectations were for qualifications 50+ years ago. Education is being dumbed-down. Expectations are lower. Intelligence is falling

A crutch

The problem with technology is that it acts like a crutch. Instead of learning how to write beautifully, you pick a font and the computer produces a flawless document.
Great, but you still cannot write neatly, can you?


A crutch is something used by a person who has a physical disability. It is an aid to help them
Technology does the reverse: it takes perfectly healthy, capable people and creates a dependency, a convenience.
Using technology is easier than using your own brain. But is this a good thing? Is technology making you disabled?


Technology shapes consciousness. Sometimes for the better but often adversely. Reliance on technology can reduce awareness, impede brain function and diminish attention span.
Children may be capable of playing a psychologically addictive video game for hours but cannot converse coherently with a grown adult.

Junk is the ultimate merchandise. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product.

He does not improve and simplify his merchandise, he degrades and simplifies the client.

(William S. Burroughs)


Television is the worst culprit of all. It promotes thoughtlessness, gossip, superficiality, horrific posture, emotional instability, eye strain and slow brain death.
Many programs actively stimulate the viewer and create anxiety. People fret about imaginary problems or issues that they cannot possibly have any control over.
This causes depression and stress.

The TV thinks for you

Why bother to use your brain and think things through when the TV will provide an opinion instead?
A false sense of knowledge and understanding is fostered. It is founded on a superficial grasp of the subject and seldom accounts for all aspects of a given topic/issue.

Live life through the TV

Instead of living, you can watch. You can passively observe just about anything you like. No commitment, no hardship, no expense, no direct personal experience is required.

Mobile phones

The mobile phone has become an intrusive third party in many relationships.
People sit in the company of real life humans whilst texting absent people, scanning the web, posting or chatting with friends.
Something significant is lost.

A toy for grown ups

Most of the activities performed on mobile phones have no bearing on the original purpose of the phone: game playing, 'tweeting', taking 'selfies'...
Are these activities more meaningful than genuine face-to-face human interaction?

I possess a device in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man.
I use it to look at pictures of cats and get into arguments with strangers.


Real time

Interacting with people in real life is quite different to listening to a disembodied voice on the phone.
You have a vast array of additional information to work with:

• Tone of voice
• Inflection
• Facial expressions - use of facial musculature
• Eyes - sincerity, tension, attention level
• Poise/posture/body language
• Emotional state
• Non-verbal clues that can confirm veracity  

There is nothing intimate or personal about a phone call. Interpersonal
skills are an art that cannot be fully rendered by voice alone.

Most people underestimate the extent to which their attention is misdirected by a phone call. Research has shown that talking even on a hands-free phone has the same detrimental impact on your driving as being over the drink-drive limit. However, since we overestimate our own abilities, we don’t notice the impact this technological misdirection has on our performance.

(Gustav Kuhn)


The laptop is used for legitimate business purposes by many users. Sadly, the ergonomics are not so great.
Look at any information on-line concerning the ideal placement/use of the human body when operating a computer. You cannot do any of it with a laptop.


The tablet is like a laptop, only worse. As a functional tool it is worthless. At best it is an expensive toy with limited professional value/application.

Despite the educational potential of computers, the reality is that their use for education is miniscule compared to their use for pure entertainment. Instead of closing the achievement gap, they're widening the time-wasting gap.

(Vicky Rideout)


People spend tens of thousands of pounds on a car. The car is devalued as soon as you drive it off the forecourt.
Mobile phones are designed to become obsolete within a year or so. Technology fashion encourages a continual refreshing of the product, as old styles and features become redundant and uncool.
Has the original function changed?
Media players are continually being developed.
TV screens get larger and larger with an increased degree of hypnotic clarity and a quality of sound that only the most understanding neighbour will be happy about.

Technology is not cheap

So much money is spent on technology. How much time, money and effort will people invest in their own body? Their mind? Their spiritual/personal development?

Smart phone

In our technologically-dependent era people tend to equate the ownership of high-tech toys with intelligence. As if owning a phone means they are smart. 'Smart phone' refers to the device, not the owner.
Did you design, build or program your mobile phone? Do you even understand how the device works? Could you construct your own?
Not quite so smart, eh?


We are checking our smartphones on average 221 times a day. Recent research found that 80 percent of millennials look at their phones upon waking; this addiction is a strong one. As a result, our cognitive processing has become shallower and we have become so distracted that we play directly into the hands of the autopilot. Digital devices are the modern day equivalent of tranquillisers. They instil a trance-like state almost immediately as they are anchors for our subconscious to take over. 

(Chris Barez-Brown)


Your body is the most sophisticated, advanced piece of technology you possess. How well can you use it? Do you have an advanced
understanding of human biomechanics?
Can you use your body skilfully? Does your body perform whatever you demand of it?


If you read the books written by ancient gurus millennia ago it becomes glaring obvious that most people these days are stupid.
Hey, don't be insulted. We are all pretty stupid. Try reading Marcus Aurelius, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Krishnamurti.
How well do you understand what these people are saying? Really understand? The good news is that you can do something about it. You can unplug. You can switch off. You can learn.

Switch off

Try switching the TV off. Suddenly the day is yours to do with as you see fit. Switch off the PC. The phone.
Go around the house and unplug every electronic device you are not using. Wow; no more background hum. Your electric meter is no longer spinning fast.


When you commit to reclaiming your body and mind, you are beginning to live a deliberate life. You may be tempted to hammer your body at the gym, run the streets or do something rash... Don't.
There is no rush. Take some time. Reflect. Think deeply. Make choices that arise from a long-term perspective.

The complex reality of the technologies that real companies leverage to get ahead emphasizes the absurdity of the now common idea that exposure to simplistic, consumer-facing products - especially in schools - somehow prepares people to succeed in a high-tech economy.

Giving students iPads or allowing them to film homework assignments on YouTube prepares them for a high-tech economy about as much as playing with Hot Wheels would prepare them to thrive as auto mechanics.

(Cal Newport)


Calculate how much time each week you spend on activities: Watching TV? Using the PC for leisure? Playing videogames? Playing on your phone/texting/talking?
If your TV time exceeds 7 hours a week, ask yourself why. Watching an excessive amount of TV prevents you from doing everything else.

Cold turkey

It is quite difficult for modern people to go 'cold turkey'. They are so accustomed to watching other people doing things with their lives that they have completely forgotten about living their own.
Try watching one movie/TV episode a week? Leave the TV off for the rest of the week. Now try to curtail PC usage, mobile phones and any other technologies you are investing your time (and life) in.
You will find yourself with a lot of free time. Start living instead of watching/browsing/commentating/updating.

Tools, of course, can be the subtlest of traps.

(Neil Gaiman)

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Page created 1 August 1999
Last updated 11 March 2024