Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 251–258 | Cite as




The new information technologies hold out the promise of instantaneous, 24/7 connection and co-presence. But to be everywhere at once is to be effectively nowhere; to be connected to everyone and everything is to be effectively disconnected. Why then do we long for faster connections and fuller connectivity? The answer this paper proposes is that we are trying to fill our existential lack, our radical sense of inadequacy and incompleteness as human beings. From such a perspective, our pursuit of speed and connectivity is doomed to failure insofar as it only exacerbates the condition we are fleeing. Rather than rushing faster, the Buddhist-inspired solution would have us slow down and directly investigate our sense of lack.


attention span Buddhism clock time cybertime groundlessness lack paradox of choice 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aveni Anthony, Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks, and Cultures. Kodansha International, New York, 1995Google Scholar
  2. Peter Berger. The Heretical Imperative. Doubleday, New York, 1979Google Scholar
  3. Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Hurley. Penguin, New York, 1998.Google Scholar
  4. Norman O. Brown. Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History. Vintage, New York, 1961Google Scholar
  5. Rogers Brubaker. The Limits of Rationality: An Essay on the Social and Moral Thought of Max Weber. Routledge, London, 1991Google Scholar
  6. Oliver Burkeman and Bobbie Johnson. Search and You Shall Find. The Guardian, February 2, 2005.Google Scholar
  7. Lorne Dawson. Doing Religion in Cyberspace: The Promise and the Perils. Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin, 30(1):3–9, 2001Google Scholar
  8. Eihei Dogen. In Kazuaki Tanahashi, editor, Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen. North Point Press, San Francisco, 1985.Google Scholar
  9. Micheal Ende, Momo, translated by J. Maxwell Brownjohn. DoubleDay, 1985.Google Scholar
  10. Thomas Eriksen. Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age. Pluto Press, London, 2001Google Scholar
  11. Catie Getches. Wired Nights: In the 24-Hour Universe, There’s No Winding Down. Washington Post, Sunday, October 17, 2004, page B1.Google Scholar
  12. John O’Grady, Peter Scherle, editors. Ecumenics from the Rim. Lit Verlag, Berlin 2007Google Scholar
  13. Gardiner Harris. Use of Attention-Deficit Drugs is Found to Soar among Adults. New York Times (Late Edition (East Coast)), September 15, 2005, page A18 (Accessed on September 16, 2005 at
  14. Robert Levine, A Geography of Time. Basic Books, New York, 1997Google Scholar
  15. Lonely Nation. Associated Press. CNN, May 6, 2006 (Accessed on August 18, 2006 at
  16. David Loy. The Attention-Deficit Society: Awareness Fragmented, Commodified, and Controlled. In Grady and Scherle, editors, Ecumenics from the Rim, 2007.Google Scholar
  17. David Loy, Lack and Transcendence: The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism. Humanity Books, Amherst, NY, 1996Google Scholar
  18. Reiho Masunaga, The Soto Approach to Zen. Layman Buddhist Society Press, 1958.Google Scholar
  19. Christopher E. Sanders, T.M. Field, M. Diego and M.␣Kaplan. The Relationship of Internet Use to Depression and Social Isolation among Adolescents. Adolescence, 35(138): 237–242, 2000 (Accessed on July 20, 2005 from
  20. Barry Schwartz. The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less. Harper Perennial, New York, 2005Google Scholar
  21. Paul Virilio, Open Sky, translated by Julie Rose. Verso, London, 1997.Google Scholar
  22. Ken Wilber. The Spectrum of Consciousness. Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, IL, 1977Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ethics/Religion and Society ProgramXavier UniversityCincinnatiUSA

Personalised recommendations