New technologies always present both an opportunity for, and a threat to, human flourishing. In The Life We’re Looking For, Andy Crouch argues that in our modern era, technology has empowered us to pursue ‘mastery without relationship’ (what the premodern world called magic) and ‘abundance without dependence’ (what Jesus called Mammon).
As a result, many of us feel strangely out of place – indifferent amid endless opportunities, disconnected amid constant connections. We’ve enthusiastically bought into technology’s promises of ‘Now you’ll be able to…’ and ‘You’ll no longer have to…’ without realising the hidden costs of ‘You’ll no longer be able to…’ and ‘Now you’ll have to…’.
We’ve essentially traded our personhood for superpower – but what we didn’t realise is that power without effort diminishes us, as much as it delights us.
Crouch explains why the Bible commands us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:4–5). He enlarges our English understanding of what this means, by drawing on the wonderful Hebrew me’od, which means “with all of your muchness”. And if we are honest, we would admit that many of us have “lost our muchness”, as the Mad Hatter rightly chastises Alice in the Lewis Carroll classic.
The reality is that none of us can build a well-lived life alone. In this short but profound book Crouch shows us how to restore true community and put ‘persons’ first, in a world dominated by money, power, and devices.
The good news is that there is a way to change from slaves of devices into masters of instruments – creating a world where we can be both connected, and fully alive.
Review by Lise-Marie Keyser