What Purpose Was and What Technology has Made it #41 #cong22


In my blog post I talk about what purpose was for some people in the past, how technology has altered it and how it could potentially continue to change it.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Purpose is a sense of fulfilment which is achieved by getting the most out of life.

  2. Belief systems give us a sense of purpose.

  3. Technology and social media has detracted from our sense of purpose.

  4. Technology has the potential to completely derail our fulfilment in life.

About John Golden:

I’m a 25 year old from Dublin. I have a business degree but currently working in property. I enjoy most sports but primarily football and GAA. I am currently trying to enhance my sense of purpose by trying new things.

Contacting John Golden:

You can connect with John on LinkedIn or send him an email.

By John Golden

Simply put, purpose, for me is a sense of fulfilment. In order to achieve a sense of fulfilment, you have to get the most out of life. Getting the most out of life is, but not limited to, building and maintaining relationships, having new experiences, learning new things and seeing different places. In my blog post below, I touch on what purpose was in the past, how it has changed in the present and how it could continue to change going into the future as technology gives new power.

There are many things that influence people’s sense of purpose and one of these is our belief systems. Taking Ireland as an example – in the past where religion would have been at the forefront of peoples lives, the fundamentals of leading a good life by being charitable, helping others and sticking to the principles laid out by Catholicism would have given people guidelines to live by and in turn, given them purpose to uphold those values. I certainly believe that while upholding those values, at times, lead to bad decision making but people generally lived happy and fulfilled lives. In contrast, in today’s world where there is very much an absence of religion, people have turned to other things which gives them purpose. One of the main things people have turned to is politics. Political movements and policies have now turned into some people’s sole purpose, we see it with various activists for different movements, for which it seems to consume them entirely making some extremely angry and unwilling to listen to an opposing point of view, which has fuelled and exacerbated a divide worldwide. As these political movements do not come with guiding life principles and only to achieve their objective by whatever means, people are living less fulfilled lives and are becoming increasingly depressed and angry at their life.

Adding to this anger and depression is the social media factor. Social media is a doubled edged sword in the sense that it has made people want more out of life by seeing what their peers are getting up to – therefore pushing themselves to do more are, but also has them left feeling less fulfilled as they think that everyone else is doing and achieving more than them. However, I believe that social media is the number one destructive thing in today’s world. It has driven nearly everyone to a purpose of consumerism whether they realise it or not and that is something I’ve thought about a lot recently. The so-called rat race, to work for large companies to earn money just to give it back to them by buying different consumer items that essentially mean nothing. People do get a sense of fulfilment out of buying and owning these things, but it is effectively false and won’t last the test of time.

In times gone by and still very much so now the ultimate goal was to get married, have children and grow old with your family around you. Nowadays, due to social media and other influencing factors, there is a major attack on the nuclear family. While the majority are still getting married and having children, that number is reducing year on year. I feel social media is a factor in this as it keeps people always pushing and thinking they can get something better. As these people grow old without a family and children around them will they feel they lived a less fulfilled life?

As Facebook, now Meta, see the Metaverse as the way forward, it concerns me when I see how much time children and teenagers spend on their phones/tablets/video games – some children now incapable of eating a meal without a screen in front of them. I think it’s a very realistic possibility that there will be a significant amount of the population that spend 90% of their time in the metaverse – what will their purpose in life be?

I also wonder with the ever-increasing presence of AI and the new powers it is giving will people be permitted to have their sense of fulfilment and get the most out of life. There is a lot of talk now of a future cashless society and the use of one centralised digital currency, essentially giving our entire autonomy over to our governing bodies. Combine this with having a carbon allowance per day – already developed by Mastercard – will we go to the petrol pump and it will just tell us no? Will you be only able to spend your money in certain geographic reasons, under the guise of boosting economic activity? These scenarios may seem extreme but are very much possible in a cashless society. You may be thinking that I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent but if something like this is implemented, it completely restricts people’s ability to find purpose and get the most out of life. There seems to be ever more restrictions put on us as a population and I just worry with the ability to implement such control, could it develop into something more sinister?

To conclude, the way I see it is that while technology has been a great enabler for us, it has also caused great damage. It has completely altered people’s sense of purpose and, in my opinion, believe that there is the very real possibility it could stop people from getting the most out of life as outlined in the opening paragraph.

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