Do you have a cell phone? Do you have an Android or an iPhone? I have an iPhone. I love my iPhone. It is something I use every day and it is now a necessary part of my work and daily life. I feel like I have had my iPhone forever, and I can’t remember so well about a time when I did not have my iPhone.
But if I really think about it, I did not have an iPhone when I was a child. I did not have an iPhone when I was in elementary school, or in junior high school, or in high school, or in university. Can you image that? I never had an iPhone until about ten years ago. The truth is that the iPhone is a very young thing. This week, on June 29th, in 2007 the first iPhone was sold to the world. The iPhone is only 14 years old. A lot of Otemae students are 14 years old. A lot of other Otemae students are older than the iPhone.
Changes come quickly. Change is fast. Change is speedy. Everything changes. When we have new technology our lives can change a lot. Let’s talk a little about some of the changes we have seen in technology and learn about how they change our world.
In 1960, which was a long time ago, the first lasers were invented. At that time, scientists did not understand how to use a laser for anything, but now we have lasers in so many parts of our world. We have them in supermarkets and shops, we use them in computers and cars and airplanes. Lasers are everywhere.
Do you know what a GPS is? In English, GPS, means “Global Positioning System”. We use this system a lot in our phones and computers. The GPS was first created in 1995, but now we use it for everything. Before 1995 most people used paper maps and could draw maps to help friends come to their homes, or make plans where to meet. Today we use the GPS system easily in our phones and cars. It’s amazing.
In history we can see some amazing technology developments in things like the television, the computer, elevators, digital cameras, and social media. We have an incredible amount of tools and devices and technology that we can use. It is all so incredible. It is all so wonderful.
But, there is something about all the changes to the tools that we can use that is not good enough. It is great to have wonderful machines and technology but those things alone are just not good enough. My iPhone is really nice. It is beautiful and smooth and fast. But it is only a thing. It is only a tool.
A thing, a machine, a device, a tool, are only things. They might be beautiful things, but they are just things. As people, we really need to have something more than only things.
We need ideas. We need communication and community. We need information. We need knowledge. We need passion and art. We need music and emotion. We need discussion. We need interaction with others. We need the bonds of humanity. We need people. We need family. We need friends.
It seems that fast changes can come with things and machines. And it also seems that slow changes come from things that are more important. Friendship needs more time to change and grow. Art and music and learning need time to develop and expand. Creating something with others needs time and patience and care. The best things in life are like this.
So, maybe it is okay to enjoy your computer and your iPhone. It is good that we have cars, and TVs, and all kinds of scientific technology. We should be grateful for the wonderful things that we have, but we also need to remember that things do not give us life. Things can help our lifestyles, but there are many, many more things, that are not technology things, that are much better.
Friends, family, community, nature, and learning might not move fast, but we need them more for life, and to give life meaning and purpose.