Does technology ACTUALLY make you happy?

Alex Arenas HB

In Aristotle’s work, Nicomachean Ethics, the philosopher presents what he believes a man’s ultimate end is and the ‘good life’ that leads to such an end, ultimately coming to the conclusion that man’s final end is a life that consists of exercising one one’s reason with “a kind of speculation or contemplation.”[1] In today’s world, it is evident that we live in a society where life revolves around electronics. Technology, in general, has made the world we live in necessarily quicker and more efficient, but as a result, it is preventing many people from exercising their own intelligence and reason or spending time in contemplation without outside distraction. Although technology has many advantages, the disadvantages may outweigh them in the long run. According to Aristotle, the good life is one where we are capable of contemplation so that we can use the life of reason to achieve happiness. We have less and less time today to spend on other things besides school and work, and now since our society revolves around the internet and smart phones, we are eliminating that free time all together. To Aristotle, contemplation “is both the highest form of activity, and also it is the most continuous, because we are more capable of continuous contemplation than we are of any practical activity.” [1] To live the good life, we must first have the time to contemplate. When our time is already limited as it is, and is continuously decreasing due to technological advancements, we may be taking steps away from the ultimate goal of the good life.[3] We walk down the street and see almost everyone glued to their cellphones. We see entire families using them at dinners and friends using them in group settings without uttering a word to each other. People walk into doors and fall down stairs because they are on their phones. The most frightening part is that there are constant deaths and injuries because of people who use their phones while driving. The National Safety Council’s annual injury and fatality report, “Injury Facts,” found that the use of cell phones causes 26% of the nation’s car accidents.[2] If we cannot take a break from our phones to look up and drive with safety, then no wonder our ability to contemplate is disappearing. It is obvious that technology is interfering with our ability to contemplate and therefore live the good life in Aristotle’s view. “The more contemplation, the more happiness there is in a life,”[1] because the man who exercises his reason and cultivates it lives so that he can fulfill his function in life. If humans are starting to become less capable of contemplation, then where does that leave humanity? Humanity needs to realize that our standards of the fullness of life are falling, and in the Aristocratic view, we are now unable to live the Good life. Our obsession over the constant use of electronics has doomed our generation and the generations to come to technological dependency, causing us to slowly lose social skills and the time that we need to contemplate our lives.

[1]Aristotle. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Print.

[2]”Cell Phone Distracted Driving Severely Underreported; That’s a Big Problem.” Cell Phone Crash Data. Accessed December 04, 2016. http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/priorities-cell-phone-crash-data.aspx.

[3]Korn, Melissa. “Smartphones Make You Tired and Unproductive, Study Says.” The Wall Street Journal. 2014. Accessed December 04, 2016. http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2014/02/06/smartphones-make-you-tired-and-unproductive-study-says/.

[4]Brody, Jane. “Screen Addiction is taking a Toll on Children.” The New York Times Wellness Blogs. 2015. Accessed December 4, 2016. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/screen-addiction-is-taking-a-toll-on-children/?_r=0

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