Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Technology is still no substitute for work.

Remember the Palm Pilot?  That was the beginning of the end for me.  I went through a few of them before I realized that a paper calender and a pencil work so much better for me.  I got pretty good with the Palm software and was able to manage my time fairly well with the handheld device.  But there were always problems with synchronizing with the computer, and I lost one, dropped and broke another, and the technology gave me huge headaches and never really saved me any time. 

I don't have a smart phone either.  The technology looks amazing.  These devices do so many different things and are meant to make life so much more convenient.  They are portable stereos, games, calenders, Internet, phones, and life savers if you lock the keys in the car.  Touch an app and you're ready to play the latest bloody battle game, or research a paper, or maybe even give grandma a call.  You can even do an examination of conscience to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

When technology becomes so smart that it does all our thinking for us, though, I think we're in serious trouble.  I've seen how the Confession App works.  It seems very cool.  It gives you an extensive list of possible sins and all you have to do is put an X in the box by the ones that apply and it will automatically remember the sins for you in nice neat categories.  Then when you get into the confessional all you have to do is bring in the smart phone and you've got your list of sins right in front of you.  How much easier could it be for the penitent who has it all?

Of course the penitent still has to decide whether the sins on the list apply.  There's a little bit of effort for you.  But is that really going to be a substitute for prayerfully and courageously listening to the conscience as it helps us to understand the nature of our sins, their consequences, and our need to let them go?  Something as important as thoroughly reflecting on our sins takes time, honest effort, and it's not very much fun.  It's not supposed to be convenient.  The purpose of doing a thorough examination of conscience is not just to help us remember what we are to say in the confessional, it's also to help us understand more deeply what it is we need to change in our lives. 

Maybe I'm just "old fashioned."  I've always been the type of guy who does things the hard way.  I guess if I was smart enough to grasp the technology and really let it work its magic, the Confession App could really rock my world in a fantastic way.  But at my age and temperament, I'm going to live with doing the work myself.  I just can't make myself trust the machines to work right for me.

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