I had lunch today with a good friend, and he was brimming with excitement about the release of a new game – “No Man’s Sky.” He explained the premise and then went into the details of the game. After lunch, he sent me videos of the game. It has been at least 10 years since I’ve played a game seriously (save dinky iPad games) so I am not compelled to buy it/play it myself, but I was very impressed with the whole thing. Very well done Hello Games, very well done.
The whole conversation, though, spurred thoughts about my general dispassion for the game vs. his overflowing excitement. He is very very excited to see what the game holds because of it’s inherent randomness of all game variables – terrain, plant/animal life, gravity, etc. All I could think was: “yeah, but it is not real.”
On a different day, the same friend sent me an article where the author shares his views on technology in general, and effects it has on our day-to-day lives and spiritual lives. My thoughts on this article manifest themselves in my excitement (or lack thereof) for this game.
Movies, games, internet forums, writings and musings (blogs) all have the potential to remove one’s self from reality. The author’s quote of Pope Francis’ regarding our total human person being a culmination of all of our acts can be used to highlight this. “We are the sum of our experiences,” and if our experiences include regular dives into fantasy worlds through movies/shows, games, etc, then our lives become ruled more by fantasy, not reality.
People choose their level of immersion. Just as the author chooses to manually French-press his coffee, we are able to choose how much we are immersed technology. Notice that I say “immersed,” not “embraced.” Embracing technology is ok. It is all an exercise in self-control. My friend tends to immerse himself more, and I try not to become too immersed – he would rather play video games, I would rather go to a shooting match 🙂
What am I getting at? We need to be deliberate in how we employ technology to enhance our lives. Technology for automation is good in my opinion, and has the potential to make the quality of our lives higher and more safe. Technology that takes us away from reality, however, can be dangerous if used to excess.
The good news is that we have God-given free will – and we can choose NOT to be hypnotized by fantasy. We can define the extent to which we rely on technology, and what that means in our lives.