Practice and Counterpractice

From Albert Borgmann’s Power Failure:

“… for a long time time to come technology will constitute the common rule of life.  The Christian reaction to that rule should not be rejection but restraint … But since technology as a way of life is so pervasive, so well entrenched, and so concealed in its quotidianity, Christians must meet the rule of technology with a deliberate and regular counterpractice.

Therefore, a radical theology of technology must finally become a practical theology, one that first makes room and then makes way for a Christian practice. Here we must consider again the ancient senses of theology, the senses that extend from reflection to prayer.  We must also recover the ascetic tradition of practice and discipline and ask how the ascesis of being still and solitary in meditation is related to the practice of being communally engaged in the breaking of the bread. The passage through technology discloses a new or an ancient splendor in ascesis.  There is no duress or denial in ascetic Christianity. On the contrary, liberating us from the indolence and shallowness of technology, it opens to us the festive engagement with life.”

The “rule of technology” engraves itself on us by shaping the routines and habits of daily life so that it is both pervasive and unnoticed. In other words, it is not enough to merely desire or will to live well with technology. Borgmann’s crucial insight, for Christians and non-Christians alike, is the necessity of deploying deliberate and intentional counterpractices that embody and instantiate an alternative form of life.