The shadow of technology

It’s tempting to look at a new piece of technology, such as Facebook, and think of it as either a ‘good’ thing or a ‘bad’ thing. I’m certainly guilty of trying to decide on those terms, rather than thinking about if and how I want to engage with something new.

I think everything has a shadow, a dark side. Karl Jung said this about people a long time ago, and now that idea is applied by others to technology, social systems, anything that enters your life.

For example, the shadow side of antibiotics might be considered our reliance on pills and medical expertise. Simply because antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals are so effective, its tempting to treat the symptoms and neglect the causes. Feeling run down? Take a pill. Don’t think about why you are run down or sort that out.

The shadow is often not obvious, and only years after a technology has developed do we find out what the dark side is. The internet has been around a fair time now, but the impact it has is only just being understood. And until we understand how it impacts us, it’s hard to use it safely.

I don’t hanker for simpler times, because those simpler times had dark sides. Before antibiotics lots of people died. But what about the internet? It has speeded up communication, broken down barriers between people and cultures, perhaps its impact is to make us more accepting of each other. Yet we struggle to use it safely – a variety of internet addictions have surfaced; it is easy to burn out as the pace of work picks up; fanaticism, consumerism, superficial ways of relating, sexual abuse and big brother surveillance can spread through it.

Yet you can switch it off. You can live without it – and like other addictions, some people now have to avoid the substance of their addiction, be it Facebook or Twitter. I am not advocating switching it off, unless you want to. Just some care and attention – I think it’s a good thing, but it has its shadow. If you find its seductive stimulation addictive – then it’s time to put down your smartphone and talk.

I work as a counsellor and coach in the Hungerford and Marlborough area, and also via Skype and telephone.

Posted in Health, Stress, Work/life balance Tagged with: , , , , ,
One comment on “The shadow of technology
  1. Lorna Benbow says:

    I love these posts……….. thank you for helping us all to have a little feel about these things x

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