A Toxic Façade

Communication, efficiency, convenience, and progress - the daily themes that we all look to improve. Are we too dependent on technology?

By Dana Yurglich

Updated 12:17 am EST, December 12, 2023

Published 01:10 pm EST, December 13, 2023

Photo Credits

Photography: Erick Malone
Hair & Make-up: Aubree Cannon
Model: Megan Coleman
Creative Direction & Wardrobe Stylist: Dana Yurglich
Special Thanks: Outrageous Room

Communication, efficiency, convenience, and progress – the daily themes we all look to improve. We can see countless advancements we’ve made, from the Stone Age to the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and today’s Fourth Industrial Revolution. These technological advances and inventions have made our lives easier and more effective and allowed us to explore, learn, and share more about this beautiful world. But are we too dependent on technology?

Long Silver Pleated Dress: Lulus

Tech Progress and Existential Reflection

It reminds me of Walt Disney. His Carousel of Progress was first shown at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, where we see one family move through technological evolution from the pre-electric years to the future full of gadgets. Or you can ride through Epcot’s iconic ball, Spaceship Earth, and see the world progression from hunting woolly mammoths to the printing press to exploring space, to the 0s and 1s of computers.

Ivy Silver Leather Dress: Mitiliane Couture
Shoes: Yaqar Fashion House

Through technology, we have the alphabet and writing utensils; hand tools to build houses, furniture, and everything in between; an expanse in our cuisine through the ability to cook with different methods; medicines and equipment to assist in healing us; cars and planes to visit family around the world and explore faraway places, and so much more.

Thinking about technology brings me back to my college graphic design course, where I was shown an exponential graph of the acceleration of technology. I vividly remember seeing the line progressing and going straight up with nowhere left to go. I’ve thought about that graph for years, seeing it playing out in our lives. Seeing things getting faster, to now a point of such rapid intensity that everything’s on top of each other all the time, and I find myself waiting for the end. That moment where it can no longer go on – where it’s hit the limit, where we’ve hit our limit. I feel the point of no return has been exceeded as I ponder people’s lives and experiences and where we’re at today.

Rapid Technology Consumption and Consequences

Now, despite these advancements, the rapidity and usage is now harming us. Today, many rush to and fro, here and there, searching anxiously, and knowledge is increasing. We are in a constant onslaught of information bombarding our minds, our emails, our eyes, and every single ounce of us, and we’re playing catch up, trying to stay afloat, all while being seduced and sucked into technology. And now technology is so ingrained in our lives that there’s no way to not have it. We have reached a new territory of technology dependence.

Shay Sequin Dress: Mitiliane Couture
Shoes: Yaqar Fashion House

We constantly feel the inner pull of “We HAVE to have it right now”. Do you feel that longing within you? That ache, that constant nagging within yourself to fulfill your desires. It calls over and over throughout the day. And look out for when you get triggered…it all falls apart. Just feel it…here it comes again…that incessant pulling, tugging within your soul that longs to be filled and take the burdens away.

But wait…what are you rushing to? The hard plastic in your hands? That enticing screen that lights up and flashes purposely to hook you? Desperately checking for a notification? That quick rush and dopamine hit, where you can feel like you’re “a part of something” even though you aren’t, and it’s all a façade. As much as we think and hope and expect technology to make us feel better and take it all away, we get our quick fix but then feel worse; the pull gets stronger, and we need bigger dopamine hits.

Balancing Technology's Impact

Technology can certainly help us and is helpful to an extent. But it’s all too easy to tip the seesaw and be sucked into the black hole of dependence, addiction, communication and relationship loss. We must balance it. We are to use technology for good and not for destroying ourselves or others.

Silver Leather Trenchcoat: Mitiliane Couture
Lucid Moletent Hi Boot: United Nude

Communication technology has really become a huge issue. We’ve gone from writing letters, books, megaphones, radio, magazines, television, movies, satellites, the internet, social media and AI. It’s been a steady juxtaposed process with each step. With increased methods of communication, we have greater and faster reach and have gone from local communities to a global community; however, on the flip side, it does the opposite. Some are so dependent on technology that it’s like the air they breathe. But it’s a toxic air. It does not give them life but instead steals, kills, and destroys.

Technology dependence creates more impulsivity, and we use it to procrastinate, numb out, or run from problems, avoid feelings of discomfort, anguish, or stress. When one can’t get onto the internet, they have extreme or irrational reactions. We have become distant and isolated from each other; lost the ability to communicate and actually talk to someone face to face; loss of personal relationships and community; have cyberbullying; more hatred; more extreme situations; more desensitization to violence, sex, drugs, and loss of innocence; depression and anxiety; nervousness; anguish; perspiration and trembling when unable to use or when not receiving “likes” or “follows”. We show attachment symptoms when we want to sleep with it or have it with us at all times. And we can’t shut it off and are unable to make the right decisions. Subliminal messages manipulate us to desire, buy, or believe what they want us to believe.

Are We Too Dependent on Technology?

Addiction has skyrocketed. When we look at the screen, a post, play a video game, we get a dopamine hit. And then we need another one, and another, and each time, we need bigger doses. We have a whole list of addictions, including gaming addiction, social media addiction, online gambling addiction, pornography addiction, online shopping addiction, and work-related digital addiction. When looking at brain scans, the technology-addicted brain looks identical to the heroin-addicted brain.

Shay Sequin Dress: Mitiliane Couture
Shoes: Yaqar Fashion House

Radiation constantly emits from our phones and WiFi, which unfortunately goes straight into us. We then have personality changes, fits of anger, rage, and violent behavior, even in children. Their brains are still developing, so it affects them quicker, at more significant dosages, and causes permanent damage. We have new conditions to be diagnosed with. Do you ever feel like your phone is going off, but it isn’t? Phantom Vibration Syndrome is the false perception of your device going off but isn’t. It’s a tactile hallucination as the brain perceives the vibration, but it’s not there.

Intermittent reinforcement is at the root of technology obsession and keeps us compulsively checking our devices. There’s Nomophobia, which is the fear of being without a cell phone or out of contact. Smartphone Vision Syndrome is caused from using a phone in the dark for a prolonged amount of time and causes vision and eye problems. We have tech neck and smartphone tendonitis and arthritis.

Technology's Erosion of Privacy and Autonomy

We have loss of privacy; our location, habits, phone calls, texts, conversations through speakers and visuals through lenses, and any information that can be found on us is tracked.  In addition, we have lost control, and we have lost control of ourselves. Transhumanism is the next step, as we’ve already begun seeing this happening. We’re seeing microchips being implanted into human hands and brain microchip implants. Transhumanism is all about merging human beings and machines — all in the name of convenience, efficiency, and progress. Remember convenience. Convenience isn’t always best for us. Question convenience.

Metallic Bodice Crepe Dress: Ronny Kobo
Shoes: Yaqar Fashion House

There are many problems with this new technology coming out and on the horizon. With the new mind-reading technology, one can know what we’re thinking about and control our thoughts for their benefit, forcing us to think one way and remove the way we really think. No longer having the freedom to think. All in the strategy of the newest, greatest, up-and-coming, trending, shiniest object that “you just have to have” and “everyone has it”. For fear of being left out, left behind. So, we go out and buy into this strategy without any thought of the damage.

They want to turn you into a machine. After all, as Pink Floyd clearly sings, you’re just “another brick in the wall” according to “them” – disposable, faceless, a puppet in their hands. The brick that is no different from another, uniform, conformed to their mold, a building block to be used for their purposes and desires, pressed together by human hands. Those who have these transhumanist beliefs think that we are expendable. But we are not expendable. That is not who you are. You are not expendable.

You Are a Unique Treasure

Unlike a brick, you are a stone. You are a masterpiece, irreplaceable. You were shaped with beautiful intricacies, exquisite angles, and curves. A delight to look at and know. You were created specifically with your own shape, color, and texture. Just as stones have certain qualities and things they’re good at, so too are you. No two stones are exactly alike, but they all have a purpose. You are so exquisite and have an amazing purpose. Sometimes, we may gloss over and miss the wonder and beauty of rocks. We forget that all gemstones are just rocks that have been shined up. Within each rock is this magnificent delight and surprise. The rocks are a treasure. And that’s you. You are the stones. You are not a brick to be pressed down to compromise, conformity, and uniformity, which is disposable. No. You are a stone. You are a treasure.

Ivory Silk Printed Dress: Mitiliane Couture
Nomadic Lo Sandals: United Nude

One must ask, “at what cost will this come”? This is vital for your life – your physical, mental, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial well-being – your future, your growth, your dreams and goals, your friends and family. They say it’s non-invasive…but really, uhh, I don’t buy into that one bit. Remember, they’re selling you a product. They want to line their own pockets, and unfortunately, most people only care about themselves. It’s always “what’s in it for me.” And they’re okay with that. Always playing with your emotions, those desires within yourself, pulling at your heartstrings, always strategizing – “what’s going to get you to buy my product.” Pulling you along and making you feel like you’re missing something, needing something, desiring something. It’s such deception, but they don’t care as long as you buy, buy, buy, and buy into what they’re selling, so they have total power and control.

Human Connection, Not Technology Enslavement

Resist the dangling candy in front of you. Stay fully human. Do not succumb to allowing physical connectivity to your body. This is something you can never come back from. Loss of your own control and, instead, a slave to someone else’s hand and plan, but even worse than that, eternal damnation that can never be changed. It changes the DNA, so the DNA is no longer human DNA. There’s no coming back from that. One’s fate is permanently sealed and can no longer be redeemed because they are no longer human.

Long Silver Pleated Dress: Lulus
Gray Glam Square Boot: United Nude 

Instead, choose the power of human connectivity. We were made for relationship – to be connected with each other face to face, not digitally. We are hard-wired to connect physically and emotionally. It’s not good for man/woman to be alone. We are to be in community, to share life together, face to face, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, arms locked, covering and guarding each other’s back, and receiving comfort and healing from the hugs of others. No screen or device can ever replace that, love us, heal us, or fill that longing emptiness and void that we have.

Human Touch and Connection

How does human touch and connection affect and benefit us? In-person conversations are more memorable. We pick up on each other’s non-verbal cues, body language, emotions, facial expressions, prosody, gesture, touch, and tone so we can really understand what they’re saying or feeling. Touch is absolutely critical for our social development and health. It’s the primary method for conveying intimate emotions, sharing physical moments, and eliciting and confirming feelings, as well as a person being real. Social touch can take on many forms, for example, shaking hands, hi-fives, hugging, and kissing. And human skin has receptors, so we must actually feel these things. Through touch, we can show support or sympathy, convey love, and comfort someone or yourself in scary situations. Without physical touch, we’re missing vital pieces of communication.

Metallic Bodice Crepe Dress: Ronny Kobo
Shoes: Yaqar Fashion House

Physical touch improves the immune system; lowers heart rate and blood pressure and reduces associated diseases; creates more emotional security; lessens depression and anxiety; and relieves physical and emotional pain. Your brain loves when you physically and emotionally connect with someone, and your brain rewards you for that. Through hugging and other nonsexual touch, your brain releases oxytocin, which is the bonding and love hormone. Dopamine and serotonin are released, as well as the stress-reducing hormones cortisol and norepinephrine, and you feel happier and less stressed. Oxytocin is self-perpetuating. You become more successful at forming and maintaining connections, more empathetic, nurturing, generous, grateful, and collaborative, and build trust between two people. Instead of tearing down, oxytocin makes you better in all your relationships and builds you up – all naturally, the way your body is designed to.

Control Over Technology's Grip

When was the last time TikTok truly helped you? When you were in a bad situation, you needed food, and you didn’t have money for groceries. You were so depressed and couldn’t get out of bed. Or walking through a horrific divorce. Who showed up? Was TikTok there to help you? YouTube? Instagram? No, it was your friends, your family, your neighbors, God. They physically came to your side. Did they help you feel better? As you scroll through TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram – do you feel better about yourself or worse?

Ivory Silk Printed Dress: Mitiliane Couture
Nomadic Lo Sandals: United Nude

Technology sucks up our time, our life, our good thoughts, our progress forward, our confidence, our ability to reach goals. As long as you’re watching TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, playing video games, scrolling for hours, and sitting in front of that entrancing screen, you can say goodbye to all the growth, goals, and dreams you have for your life.

Are you going to make the choice to be in control? Or are you going to go back and do what everyone else does and let it control you? You get to choose. Are you going to control the technology in your life? Or are you going to let technology control you?

Embracing Balance and Regaining Control

Technology is here to stay, but it’s about balance and how we use it. I’m sure you’ve heard ways to limit use and get more control back to your beautiful and victorious self, but here’s a gentle reminder of some ideas. Keep your phone out of the bathroom. Set a timer for use. Pay with your wallet – cash, ideally. Don’t have your phone in your bedroom. Get a real old-school alarm clock. Turn off your phone when you’re with your friends, family, or on a date. Be fully present with them so you can truly enjoy the memories you’re building. Leave your phone at home. Go sit in nature and enjoy the beautiful scenery, sounds, and life that is real and all around you and that you can see and touch.

White Mesh Moto Jacket: Blanc Noir
Skirt and Boots: Yaqar Fashion House

Spend a day without technology. If you’re really brave, do a digital detox for a minimum of 28 days to get your brain cleansed of the addiction, start to heal, and create new pathways. Pinpoint your triggers. Check-in with yourself and ask, is this the best use of my time? What am I missing out on by being on technology right now? How is this positively contributing to my goals? Look for the replacements and notice your oxytocin building. You’ve got this. I believe in you. You have what it takes, and you are enough. You’re not missing anything because it’s already in you. What incredible discoveries and gems await you…

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