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[Saint Anthony the Abbot]Are you to the point where you have had it with the newest technology? Has it gotten to the turn where you can't take the thought of learning how to download another new program and navigate another piece of software or install a new version of a spysweeper or log into a new kind of blog or work a different gadget? Can you even keep up with the new gadgets out there?

There are smartphones and now smarter and smartest phones and tablets and now smaller tablets and tablet-phones and xooms and skypes and netflixes and nooks and kindles and apps and youtubes and camcorders and GPS and blue-tooths and blue-rays -- plus ways you can turn a cell phone into a modem and router -- a three-g hotspot -- sending internet signals through your home, via satellite (until four-g arrives). There was MySpace but now there are tweets and Facebook and wikis; there are 1GHz Cortex A8 processors and USB ports and Mp3. Plus podcasts. And newsfeeds. Whatever happened to instant messaging?

There is now a new device that controls iPads and iPhones with brainwaves.

If you're tired of this and it seems out of control to you, you're certainly not alone. Even computer whizzes are getting lost. Our society is beyond wired. It is constantly rebooting. Electromagnetism is our new oxygen. In the process, our mental processes have been rewired. Gone is what was once known as an "attention span." When a reporter from a major magazine was interviewing one young Silicon Valley billionaire whiz kid, the writer described an unusual wide-eyed stare he received from the young programmer at various points (like he was speaking to a cyborg), and lapses during the interview when the young man simply turned sideways like the statue of a "Greek god" and stared into nothingness (perhaps writing computer code in his mind, and certainly not with what we generally consider to be a human stare).

This contrasts mightily with today's saint, Anthony the Hermit, who found God as a hermit in a desert as Christ too sought the desert and its solitude and as we too must. The Lord is in simplicity and emptiness, in the desert wastelands, in the sacrifice of prayer and fasts. He has similarities to technology in that He is even faster than a Google search but where technology binds us to it, He frees us; where it causes a frenzy, He gives us peace. Where it is only "instant," His greatest wonders -- and healings -- often occur over time (and last). We must be careful not to make a god out of the computer screen -- worshipping it like a golden calf.

All of us use aspects of the technology (you are currently staring at a computer screen) and can list the incredible wonders and benefits of it at the same time we must realize the unsettling nature of overly depending on the artificial and developing a society that is held together -- "tethered" (to use a techie word) --  by fragile scientism. A simple burp of the sun or terrorist act or electrical outage could send our economy and society into a tailspin due to our reliance on computers -- a thought to consider when one speaks to experts at the National Space Weather Center and hears them say it's well within the realm of plausibility for an electromagnetic pulse from space (never mind an oil shortage) to shoot down the entire nation's electrical grid in a chain reaction.

We are in bondage to technology. We can't live without it. And it's not just computers. Shut off your electricity for a few hours, and mediate on the ramifications. How much of your life depends on electricity? Meanwhile, see how long you can go without a phone or wifi, not to mention heat or air conditioning.

There is no need to be paranoid. There is a need to be cautious. A key urgency: to simplify; to quiet oneself. Purge the clutter from your life -- and spirit. Take time to rest. It is good for the body, mind, and spirit. Pray. Meditate. We have to use technology to a degree, but it should not use us. Meanwhile, daunting it is to think of the way someone might use technology or a social network to cause a massive societal reordering. A twelfth of humanity now belongs to one particular social network that is the newest fad, "thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S.," notes Time Magazine.

If this social network were a country, it would be the third largest, behind only China and India.

It has "merged with the social fabric of American life, and not just American but human life," said the magazine, noting that it has collected more personal information than the FBI and sees itself as the next state of human evolution in reshaping human relationships.

In the wrong hands, that capacity could be dangerous.

More important is the effect on the spirit. How much has technology replaced prayer in your life?

Everything today is "immediate." Everything is brief. We speak and text in sound bytes -- even dispensing with language. Would Jesus have a page on a social network? Would He text? Would He even appear on TV? Or would He reject the way we have re-created Creation (especially human interaction)?

We all can have our opinions on this, but it is interesting to note the period in history -- the simple world -- in which He chose to make His appearance two thousand years ago, a world with quiet places, a world near deserts, a world where everyone grew what he or she needed, as we can speculate on what the world must become before He makes a second appearance.

[resources: Tower of Light]

[see also: Report: Gates wants to wirelessly register every newborn for database]

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[Additional note: "Soon the world will not be the world you know," claims one "word of knowledge" from 1990 that we have often quoted. "I am not speaking of a barren world, or one depopulated, but of the end of your technological era. Many inventions of mankind will be broken down and there will be more of a peasant attitude and way of life everywhere," adding that an ill-willed person "will be on earth trying to affect the new world order. Hardly anyone will notice the extent of his influence until afterwards. He will not be of tremendous visibility until he is accomplished. That is to say, he will not rule, control, and be at all obvious to the world at the peak of his influence. He will not be unlike a figure such as Marx, except his ideas will be more immediate."]

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