The Cybermen might be one of my favorite monsters/villains from Doctor Who. That’s partly because they have such a retro look at the core of their design, and they have been perfectly updated for the new series. Remember when they tried to update the Daleks? The iDaleks? That was not cool.
If you’re a fan boy/girl of the good Doctor then checkout ChurchMag’s TARDIS-themed devotional, Finding Faith Inside the Big Blue Box.
Anyway, here we are on Cyber Monday, the big online-software-electronic-digital buying day of the Christmas season. In case you’re new here, Cyber Monday is the day that most tech and electronic companies—but not Apple!—offer massive discounts and deals on their products. Super cool, right? Except…
Philosophical Concerns: Commercialism & Technicism
Except it only encourages our commercialistic tendencies.
“I need a new phone! I deserve a tablet! A better tablet!”
Honestly, I have no problem with wanting to have tech—I’m saving for an iPad—but I think it’s our ‘upgrade lust,’ our unceasing hunger for more that’s an issue. And of course, there’s also another philosophical issue: technicism.
Technicism, or transhumanism, is well demonstrated in the character of the Cybermen. It’s a philosophy that says that humanity will (and ought to) ascend beyond biology, grafting more and more technology into our physiology. (Bet you didn’t think anyone could drop that many “ologies” into a single sentence. Impressed?) Essentially, this a school of thought that wants us to embrace more and more technology, bringing more and more conveniences, tools, and distractions into our lives. As we discussed in a recent episode of the ChurchMag Podcast, this is a growing philosophy, one that might have already taken us too far.
You could call me “Chicken Little,” blast me as a Luddite, or suggest that maybe I’d be more comfortable in Amish County, and I could certainly understand all of that.
But would any of that make me wrong? Am I wrong that every year we get a bit more commercialistic?
Sure, several companies are moving to a “compassionate” capitalistic model, and while I applaud those companies, doesn’t the fact that they are making the world a better place only serve to assuage our guilt? Am I wrong that we’re move further and further into a tech-powered future, closer and closer to a tech-centered society?
As I said on the podcast, are we looking to become more like, to depend more upon, our creations or our Creator?
A wise man once said, “So what?”
It’s a great question that I don’t have an equally great answer to, but what I do have is a fairly universal common sense suggestion: take it slow and set some boundaries.
I say to myself as much to you, so don’t take it the wrong way. As I said before, I’m saving up to buy an iPad this year. My family currently has no tablets, and in planning to buy, I have been thinking about how much I already use my iPhone while at home. If I do end up getting an iPad, there will have to be some guidelines. The more I write, the more I blog, the more of me that needs to be engaged in what we know as “real life,” starkly contrasting it from our “digital life,” which wasn’t much of an issue when my parents were parenting me. Now that I’m the parent, I have to put barriers in place to keep myself engaged in what matters: the here and now.
It’s up to me to resist the “upgrade,” to fight off the pull to become a Cyberman. It’s up to you, also.
Do you sometimes feel the pull of the “new” and “wonderful”?
Do you struggle with the pull of the digital over the real? Are the Cybermen coming for you?
WHOVIANS: Remember to pick up Phil’s first solo title, Finding Faith Inside the Big Blue Box.