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Efficient and productive--enough?

I’m reading a painful book about my beloved technology. And Neil Postman’s Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology wasn’t even written recently, but 16 years ago. He would have even more serious data to use if he were to rewrite the book in our current techno world. His voice in 1992 was a call to pause and consider what road technology is leading us down, lest we find ourselves one day in a place we don’t want to be.

But I love my technologies. And one reason is because I perceive they make me more efficient and productive. So when I hit this paragraph below, I had to linger a few seconds...
Both Plato and Aristotle scorned the “base mechanic arts,” probably in the belief that nobility of mind was not enhanced by efforts to increase efficiency or productivity. Efficiency and productivity were problems for slaves, not philosophers.

Efficiency and productivity are my bedfellows. They sneak into my daily life and establish themselves as boss. Waste not, want not. I want to make the best use of my time, my energy, any resources. Which isn’t necessarily bad. But sometimes “wasting time” is more productive than “spending” it. Jenna and I stayed up 30 minutes past her bedtime last night just to read a book together, start to finish. Was that time “wasted” or was it “spent”? We laughed at the plot; we wondered about the author; we even worked it into our good-night prayers. We had fun, at time’s expense.

So I have to remind myself that the goal for the course isn’t always to grab that “A” (okay, so I’m really not satisfied unless I have the A+). The goal is gaining the wisdom to lead a better life.

The point of exercising regularly isn’t to live to be 100 (please don’t make me). The point is living healthier now (and possibly so later).

And the reason for Bible study isn’t to store more information in my brain (although that can be very good, too). The reason is so I can see God clearer to give him the glory he’s worthy of. Not necessarily in the most efficient way. Or with the least waste and effort.

But extravagantly. With abandon. With no predetermined outcomes.

With or without technology.

Because technology can’t get me to God any quicker or cleaner or surer. There’s only one Way—and the surrender of time to Him is the ultimate use of a life.


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