Has Technology Stolen Our Telos?

Posted by: DVULI | July 23, 2022

Urban POV by Jordan Francis

by Jordan Francis (Phoenix 2017)

Reflection is a lost art in an age of speed and efficiency. Our pace of life leaves little room to slow down and be present. It can be hard to know what God wants for our lives.

This is even more true for students. They live in a constant state of hurry, keeping up with the latest trends, social media streaks, and school activities. That means they never have the opportunity to ground themselves and process whether they are living as they should or want to.

The good news is that students don't have to figure everything out alone. The words of Jesus can offer a clear telos for students to ground their lives.

I've been asking myself lately: How did our world get so confusing? It seems like the definitions of things have become broader and more expansive.

Dialogue about ideas has been tamed for fear of judgment. Students seem more unsure about who they are and what is true than I have ever seen before.

It appears to me that our telos have been lost.

What is telos? It's the Greek word for "purpose" or "end." It's what we were made for.

In ancient Greece, people believed that everything had a telos. A knife's telos was to cut. A rock's telos was to be solid. Even humans had a telos. We were created to reason, love, and be happy.
The Gospel tells us that our telos is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, but it seems like technology has stolen that from us.

How?

The world that technology allows us to enter into completely disconnects us from creation (general revelation) and, therefore, from ourselves. Technology convinces us to become our own telos, our own "end."

Confusion abounds, as we are unsure of our place in a universe we cannot understand. Anxiety, depression, fear, polarization, and gender confusion, are all rising as we clamor to find our place in our world that we are told doesn't mean anything.

Nihilism is around the corner.

This does not seem to be working out well for us.

What if we unplugged from technology and plugged back into the telos God has for us? What if we looked to Him to define who we are and what is true?

What's interesting is this is where psychology and theology meet for me.

Students need to be grounded. They need to be brought back into their bodies and the present. I think therapy is a remarkable space for this with counselors with a theological compass. I also think nature is the other place where students become grounded again. They can see, taste, touch, feel, and hear the general revelation of creation and rediscover telos.

Maybe, if we can bring these things together and share the grand narrative of the Gospel, some incredible things could happen?

Jordan Francis (Phoenix 2017) is a team member of Reframe Youth in Phoenix, Arizona.

Printed with permission from ReFrame