I’m a tech geek. I’ll admit it. Friends have told me I’m an early adopter of technology and I’m always interested in the next upgraded tech gadget or toy. I upgrade my phone every two years without exception, sometimes just to get an upgraded camera or faster processor. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been like this. Totally geeking out about the next revolution in technology. When Macs first introduced their air transfer technology in the 90’s, me and my buddy sat in my living room staring at two computers transfer a file through thin air. It took over 5 minutes to transfer a 256K file. We were in awe.
Fast forward to just this past week. I was surfing through my Instagram feed on my new iPhone 8 and scrolled past a political post with over 20 hashtags bashing the opposing view.
When did humanity and stories get dumbed down to hashtags? A domino cascade of events gets simplified to #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter or #guncontrol and #secondammendment. Depending on your hashtag, you either suck or are embraced as a friend (absent the rest of your humanity).
Meditating on this over the past week, I concluded that while the hashtag technology that fuels search engines is not without merit, there is a great danger in simplifying people, process and systems down to hashtags. The complexities in people and the depth of love and emotion are slowly eroding from our vocabulary and thought process.
Take the hashtag #Christian and what comes to mind? Crowds of people picketing Target over gender neutral bathrooms or servants volunteering time at the food bank?
There is nothing in nature that is as simple as a hashtag or 144-character tweet. Even the new technologies we all embrace are built on a platform of increasingly complicated infrastructure. If we learn anything from the divine complexity of creation, we must understand that the world is incredibly complex and requires perspective that we may or may not have. God’s master design is so intricate that it gets infinitely larger and smaller the more we study it.
What makes us think we can simplify any issue or person down to a one-word stereotype and even worse think that is okay? How often do I do this to people I interact with in this world? I am as guilty as the next person and must break free.
As I geek out over my newest and latest tech gadget, I must fight and not let my mind reduce humanity down to a collection of one-word buckets. We are so much more beautiful than that.