All my friends know that I LOOOOOOOOVE technology. It has made all of our lives richer by making businesses more efficient, thereby lowering prices -- and the gadgets, well, the gadgets are just mind-blowing.
Technology has also made it easier to be immoral. You can steal with stealth. You can copy CDs, DVDS, Internet music and movies and games and much more with just a flick of the finger. No need to walk into stores anymore and risk being seen by cameras or the eagle-eyed clerk. Just click. The "savvy" shopper can get almost anything he or she wishes.
Technology has become the new litmus test for morality. With things so easy for you to steal and get away with it (without actually doing all that physical stuff like walking and running and grabbing and looking around), can you blank out your mind for just a few seconds and then, Voila, you have new stuff. "Wow, that was so easy! Hey, look at this!"
I bring this up again because an acquaintance of mine just blithely mentioned that he had copied some DVDs from a friend, and the DVDs pertained to a company I'm now working for: Beachbody. That theft now means that Beachbody's profits will be less and, therefore, my profit-sharing with the company will be less. Beachbody and I both got ripped off. He'd also nicely asked in his email if I would help him with his workouts. Hmmm.
This acquaintance obviously doesn't know me too well, or he would not have approached me with all this information. He does know NOW. I asked him to burn the DVDs and buy new ones, if he still wanted the fitness videos.
I bring all this up again because I want to stress the importance of remaining completely integrated in thoughts and actions, so that your morality doesn't slip. It is wrong to steal. Period. If you do it, you have no right to complain when others do it to you, and you certainly can't live with your conscience long-term if you do. It eats away at self-esteem and tells you, essentially, that you are not competent enough to handle reality with your own mind and actions.
Objectivism is the only philosophy that provides that kind of intellectual understanding to give you the moral fortitude to reject the electronic snatch and grabs -- as well as everything else. When you buy a product, you do honor to those who created it. When you steal it, you shit on them. Which will it be?