Walk into any public campground, and you’re likely to see a sign stating rules like these:
1. Campfires allowed only in designated areas.
2. Campfires must be attended at all times.
3. Extinguish fire completely before leaving area.
Obviously, fire has been around for a long time. And yet warnings concerning it remain posted in countless places—not just campfire sites but also pumps at gas stations, restriction lists for post office mailers, and the sides of matchbooks and lighters—because fire can be dangerous when misused.
What might it have been like for humankind when fire was discovered? Here was an amazing natural phenomenon with the potential to change society in powerful ways. It could provide warmth, cook food, purify water, create energy, even forge steel. Used incorrectly, however, it could also destroy homes, forests, lives, even entire cities.
Probably it took a period of time for society to figure how to use fire for good without allowing it to destroy people or possessions along the way. Hence, people started sharing advice about how to use fire safely.
With that in mind, we introduce the theme of Simplify Magazine Issue 005: technology.
Technology, in many ways, is similar to fire. It offers potential to improve society in countless ways, including ways we can’t even imagine. Yet it also has the potential to wreak destruction on our lives and relationships.
So, how do we find balance? Similar to humanity’s first interaction with fire, we’re all trying to answer that question. How do we use technology for good without allowing it to destroy us along the way? That was the question we asked when diving deep into this topic.
In this issue, you will read thought-provoking contributions from a professor at MIT, NPR’s lead education blogger, tech writers, New York Times bestselling authors, and artists who make their living online. You will find practical application accompanying research findings and personal stories.
Just like with the signs at campgrounds, sometimes it is helpful for us to establish healthy boundaries regarding the technology we all use. Both for ourselves and for those we love the most.
With you on this journey,
Joshua Becker & Brian Gardner
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