1. Majors and Minors
  2. Faculty and Staff
  3. Apply Now
  4. Contact Us
  5. About Us
  6. Internships
  7. Calculus Readiness Exam
  8. Quick Facts
  9. Career Opportunities
  10. Pathway To Med School
June 25, 2024

Technology and Diligence

S. M. Gollmer

In the previous post I used time as an example of how technology impacts humanity.  Given that clocks reliably measure time within a fraction of a second, we can delude ourselves to think we have a comparable amount of control over it.  With this mindset we place unrealistic expectations on ourselves in the name of achievement and success.

In Scripture, the book of Proverbs has much to say about lazy people.  Such people love sleep (6:9), are unreliable (10:26), do not value what they have (12:27), have great desires (13:4), act on their own timetable (20:4), are full of excuses (22:13), and consider themselves wiser than others (26:16).  In English, Norse, and Germanic languages, variants of the words slug and sloth are used.  No wonder these words are also associated with two creatures perceived as being slow and immobile.

Listed as one of the seven deadly vices, sloth is contrasted with diligence, one of the seven capital virtues.  Therefore, diligence is the opposite of the qualities described previously.  In a world where time is defined by Kairos, diligent people sleep, but do not love it.  They are reliable, take care of what they have, act in a timely manner, take responsibility, and listen to correction.

However, in a world dominated by Chronos, diligence can take on an unhealthy edge.  Good time management suggests we take account of how we use our day.  Before computers people were encouraged to keep time logs reporting their activities in hourly and even quarter hourly increments.  Today, management software can monitor every minute.  Hourly employees working on assembly lines, in package delivery, and as forklift operators perform under quotas to ensure productivity is maintained.  Under the shadow of automation replacing these jobs, it is easy to treat humans as machines without consideration of persons, who are more than their employment.  They are needed for the job, but not necessarily wanted.  Anybody will do as long as they get the job done.

Another way Chronos can take on an unhealthy edge is when self-care is sacrificed for a consuming goal.  Proponents of polyphasic sleep state a person can function effectively using multiple power naps during the day.  As a result, instead of functioning on seven hours of sleep as recommended by the National Institute of Health (NIH), an individual can gain productivity by reducing the cumulative time spent sleeping to as low as two hours per day.  Some claim a power nap schedule spaced through the day increases your memory and creativity.  This may be useful when faced with overwhelming work associated with a deadline.  However, the long-term impact of reduced sleep is high blood pressure, impaired immune system, depression, and anxiety.

The challenge for each of us is to be diligent without being abusive or obsessive.  Sixty years ago, Jacques Ellul warned that technique attempts to remove unpredictable and inefficient elements from all processes it touches.  This is great for automation but warps the perception of humanity.  In a technological world, each of us is asked to conform or fail to compete.  This assumes people are merely resources to be utilized in the completion of a task.  However, we are much more than this.  We need to understand the value of being truly human without falling into the trap of letting the clock be the judge.

Posted in: