By M. Alexander
I lose my phone a few times a year. The first couple of times that this happened, I was devastated. All of my friends’ numbers were lost forever. How would I keep in touch with Chapman, who lives in Ghana, or Chris, who lives across the country in Connecticut? These are not people I speak with every day or even every week, but I like to have the opportunity to contact them on a whim. Why didn’t I back-up my numbers or write them down in a notebook?
Now I have Facebook. I do not need their numbers because I have a way to contact them. A priest I met in India two years ago just added me as a friend. Is he someone that I’ve ever had an urge to talk to after I left the subcontinent? No. But maybe he has thought about me; maybe he has a student who is coming to America and needs some advice. I would be more than happy to help him. Maybe I have a friend who is planning to go to India. It is incredible that we can contact each other in a second, at absolutely no cost.
Maybe I am behind the times; maybe I am not a modern man that just accepts technological advancements as the norm. I think Facebook is fascinating even though I’ve had it for four years. I am still enthralled with TiVo…and television for that matter. How do they get the picture from the studio to my room? Insane.
I do not take Facebook for granted. I am not on it all day, I am not addicted, but with my iPhone, it is always in my pocket if I need it. I have a thousand friends, connections, and romances at my fingertips. It is easy to take life as it comes, to not stop and look at the beauty and appreciate the wonder. However, a key to my happiness is to live in what Heschel calls “radical amazement”, because the world we live in and specifically social technology is truly amazing.