Google the words “pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed” and “sloth.”
They will pop up as the seven deadly sins of the human heart.
Even though the concept of the seven deadly sins is rooted in the early teachings of Christianity ethics, it has been perfected by technology.
My first reaction to the dunderheads that are illegally using drones to buzz over Yosemite Valley and other national parks to get “awesome” aerial photos to post on Facebook is how insensitive they are to others who are there to savor nature and not commune with Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Jan Koum and their disciples.
But instead of cursing them, I realize they are lost in an addiction that is more pervasive than being hooked on meth. They are technology crackheads.
Not only can they not go anywhere without mainlining technology but their addiction only strengthens the seven deadly sins that all of us wrestle with except for perhaps Larry Ellison who seems quite comfortable with them.
Pride is manifested in everything from boastful Internet postings to profiles posted on sites such as eharmony.com. Vanity is pride’s kissing cousin.
Envy rears its head every time someone gets the latest version of a smartphone or some other device that either has dubious improvements or some high tech gadget that does a surprisingly mundane task while costing $149. And no, Apple didn’t invent envy though you’ve got to wonder why Steve Jobs picked the forbidden fruit as a corporate symbol. Watching someone desecrating an Eden such as Yosemite with a drone equipped with an iPhone taking photos might give you a hint.
Gluttony is sharpened through the Internet making it possible to acquire consumer goods on a mere whim. No longer do many think twice about an expenditure when they can buy on an impulse wherever they are. No wonder why the heirs of Sam Walton have learned to love smartphones.
Lust is served well by New Age technology. If you doubt that then why is porn one of the biggest web searches and marketers on the Internet? New technologies have also helped everyone from pedophiles, rapists, and thieves to operate more freely.
Anger is amplified by everything from Twitter to Facebook postings to simple blogging. It is reflected in everything from the viciousness and coarseness of personal attacks on people that posters know or have never met to the proliferation of hate sites. Say what you want about the pre-World Wide Web era but fringe hate groups and individuals consumed by evil thoughts could not have commanded such an instantaneous or universal audience.
Greed is embraced by the high flying tech world where worth is not determined by value but by perceived potential. Spending more on a start-up that hasn’t made a profit and has no tangible assets other than an app than the entire market value of all the assets of concerns such as General Motors and Tyson Foods only encourages more people to put everything else aside in a mad rush for wealth and material gain. How much money does one person need? The Larry Ellisons of the world would simply say until you have enough wealth that you can buy anything or anybody.
Sloth is a concept well-suited for the Internet world where there is no virtue in physical work and spiritual concerns are always trumped by technology as witnessed by the high tech drones using flying drones in Yosemite.
There is nothing inherently wrong with technology just as there is nothing inherently wrong with self confidence, admiring others’ endeavors, food, sex, emotion, wealth or simply being lazy.
None of those are sins until we become obsessed with them and use them essentially as crutches.
The problem is simple. It’s moderation or the lack thereof.
You’d be hard pressed to argue the work of folks like Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Larry Ellison, and Mark Zuckerberg haven’t and don’t continue to improve the world.
Overindulgence tends to be our downfall.
Keep this in mind the next time you venture to new places whether it is hiking the Big Sur coast or walking the streets of San Diego. You can’t soak everything in if you’ve got your nose buried in a smartphone texting, are plugged into an iPod, or are preoccupied with posting photos and video to the Internet.
Recording your experience is one thing. Absorbing it is another.
Try living more in the real world instead of the virtual world.
It might surprise you what you can find out about yourself that is much deeper and more meaningful than having 10,000 likes on your Facebook page.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.