14 February 2006

Un-Technology!



Instead of sleeker iPods, SUV’s that look like trailers and Mother-Of-All-Bombs, I wish scientists concentrated more on issues that affect us profoundly.

A new drug that alters your gene to change the color of your skin! No more Racism!

A new “pound-less” pill that lets you lose weight overnight! No more Prejudice!

A new tonic that alters your behavior to cure your smoking/alcohol addiction! No more Self-screw-ups!

When I was in my Eleventh grade, I had to give a speech on “Greatest Inventions of 20th Century!”. As I was preparing for the topic, my hostel warden, passed by. Since I respect him a lot, I asked him what he thought was the greatest invention of Mankind in 20th century.

And he replied, “Invention? I don’t think anything has been invented completely by Man!”.
I was taken aback and asked him “How can you say that when we have cars, airplanes even the fan that is revolving on top of us.”
“Well, what is the fan made of?”
“Hmm…Iron...maybe steel.”
“Where did u get that iron from?”
“From…Earth”
“So, you have harnessed something from nature, changed its shape to use another part of nature (air) to make it work. Maybe you can say mankind does invent things partly. To me, it’s all discoveries of nature!”
I remember that conversation to this day. And every time we get cocky about our new and greatest “invention”, nature slaps us on the cheek with a Tsunami or an earthquake.

I think, we, human race, have drifted from worshipping and understanding nature(stone age till time before 16th century) to harnessing nature(Industrial Revolution) to the current stage of “Manipulating Nature”(Cloning, messing with genes etc.). We study History mainly because we may not commit the same mistakes again (even though it keeps repeating itself) and understand our roots better. And one thing that is clear today is that in spite of the technological advancements, people seem lost. Clueless. Unhappy. Less connected in an “always-wired-mobile-everything-everywhere” world. I think we have safely reached a stage where enough energy has been spent on inventions that satisfy our external needs without filling the void that is inside.

We need technology that eliminates hatred. We need technology that doesn’t discriminate someone based on their religion, race or sexual preference. We need technology that makes it a level-playing field for rich, poor and the ones in between. We need technology that protects, enhances, and serves Mother Nature. Not provide new tools to cut forests, new tools to dig oil from oceans, new tools to destroy habitats quickly. We need technology that connects, not the minds, but the hearts!

It is time, technology (Science) works for the development of our spirituality and not for materialist pleasures that leaves us empty in the long run!

14 comments:

bharath said...

MR :-) what he was describing is called an invention. discovery is uncovering what exists as unknown to man in nature. like a new metal or something.

invention is designing/reshaping whatever you call it to create something new. just like poetry does not owe much to the words and fullstops as to the poet's imagination.

MotoRama said...

I love the poetry analogy Bharath but if you think about it, whatever we invent is not "truly unique"!The point he was trying to make is that every "invention" is a form of nature and that we shouldnt be so cocky about it!It's not the traditional definitions but the actual truth behind those definitions.Every invention in effect is a "discovery" of harnessing natural elements.Hope that angle satisfies you little bit:)

Chay said...

off cruising tangentially, but a drug to alter the colour of skin reminds me of this Woody Allen film - Zelig....chameleon man??

Imo, as long as the instant gratification culture exists/grows people will continue being lost and clueless. coz just when they are about to spend their energy and thought on things which matter, along comes a gadget, gizmo or technology which makes man feel invincible and gives the illusion of having filled the emptiness in the soul. Its labelled as 'fun' and 'in' and it appears to temporarily satisfy everything that the soul thirsts for...in reality its just another escape hatch.
I always thought that people in the olden days were more content because they lacked technology. I now think that they were more content simply because they did not fill their minds with junk...

I dont quite know if technology can fulfill spiritual needs, though. Technology is a tool for a supposedly uncomplicated way of life. And spirituality is what what really brings in simplicity in the mind and keeps us grounded in life...no?? just thinking aloud....

Bringabrahma said...

I guess you are ready for Sanyasa...

Drama- pliss go to the woods
:D

bharath said...

nope it doesn't satisfy me. then poetry has no meaning to it too. after all its just words. i think expression lies independent of the medium. it will find a way to express itself.

similarly human crativity comes out as inventions. in all of manmade stuff, nature by itself would not have become that if not for the seed of creativity in the human mind. I am not trying to be arrogant about it. but the credit must be placed where it is due.

nature has many things to boast for itself. and that must be granted indpendently. but what man has done, man takes credit for it. no one came up with the idea of steel. think about it. its not there in any of nature's creation. and it is unique in its qualities. its not just iron. it needs the right amount of chromium, nickel and whole other set of metals.

-I rest the case. :-) I find the argument by your sir unsatisfying. just my thoughts.

Parvati said...

# These are naive solutions you offer for profound existential discriminatory tendencies in the whole of mankind itself.
Same colour skin or all being skinny people, or instant cure for alcoholism will just give way for other forms of the same evil that seems almost natural to life and man.

# What your teacher said then is just a case of "Matter can neither be created nor destroyed", which means that neither nature nor man can actually CREATE actual matter, only the forms keep on changing over centuries or decades. And this is done either by nature and her varied powerful forces or by man with his mind and the various smart combinations he makes of the stuff available to him.

# The Truth will always out: If cloning can be done, it will be. Why blame man when all the ingredients for cloning have been generously provided to him by nature herself. After initial hiccups man would be the master of all incipient studies in all branches of genetics biotechnology you name it...Nobody can stop the evolutionary forces that will keep on churning out new ideas or forms relentlessly

# Technology or not, we will be unhappy. Without technology we will be both unhappy and very very uncomfortable too. Life would be a nuisance without technology.
Unhappiness and happiness have nothing at all to do with technology. But they have a lot to do inner development, understanding of ourselves, our values that make certain of our actions source of happiness while others that of unhappiness...
The outer state of our being is the reflection and a projection of our inner, and the inner too is affected by our outer natures decisions and actions.
Technology is just bloody useful, what does it have to do with our spirit or our souls or our happiness or values or character. Nothing at all.

Let me delete this comment from here and publish the same as a post in itself in my blog. :D

Or better still, Ram, you do the honours therefor...

MotoRama said...

Zelig the chameleon man with pre-forrest-gump technique of mixing famous personalities :)wow..another Woody fan!I was thinking about my bedside soundspa with nature sounds that does give me that "quiet mind" feeling to explore the spiritual side of me, Chay(but mostly it puts me to sleep)!

Toady:I am all set for my vanaprastha with my Nano,20'LCD tv,Bluetooth Treo and wireless laptop!Frankly, i love technology..it's the direction it is headed that concerns me!

Hey Bharath,
You can rest otherwise too as there is no case being argued here ;) Just opinions on a subjective matter for which no one can claim to know the ultimate truth! Perhaps it is just semantics that seems to be the bone of contention.You say "create/invent",i say "manifest"!And you are entitled to your opinion as i am :)

Parvati,
Delete such a detailed comment ? Let it be here.And you can also post it in ur blog.I knew this subject was more your forte.

#1--> They might be niave or even utopian but the fact is,technology helps us in having a level-playing field.(Remember the pre-internet time when u had to wait on subject-expert's doorsteps to know abt something ?). Moreover i would rather live with these other new evils than the kinds i mention.

#2-->You have expressed this in a more clear way than i have with my anecdote.

#3-->"Playing God" is what scares the shit of me.Is it evolutionary or one step closer to self-destruct button, only time will answer.

#4-->I am not against technology but against the majority of its effort in materialistic items than the ones that help solve "real" issues facing humanity.The relationship between Science and Spirituality is a HUGE topic in itself,Parvati,that has been questioned/explored since the time of Darwin(could be even before).Am sure you have read about "Future Shock" by Alvin Toffler where he discusses the personal/sociological impact of technology(well mostly abt the change factor due to technology).So,to brush it off completely to our existence would be foolishness.

mermaid said...

MotoRama, you have voiced something that I have felt through other blogs as well. I have been meaning to write something along these lines, but you have expressed it well.

"I think, we, human race, have drifted from worshipping and understanding nature(stone age till time before 16th century) to harnessing nature(Industrial Revolution) to the current stage of “Manipulating Nature”(Cloning, messing with genes etc.). "

If individuals blame others for the darkness within them, how will they ever change the world? It's why I place such a high value on introspection over technology, though I'll admit I live with both.

Chay said...

Rams,

I hope you get this in time...There's an intresting episode on Oprah today titled Trading Races...do watch!!

chay

Ardra said...

the post and the comments were very interesting...

Misreflection said...

what a brilliant post :)
yea I could do with a few of your suggested inventions too . maybe just maybe.it may happen someday.. its all in the mind so if someone can figure out how to change the way we think by simply plugging in to some device there might just be some hope. Thing is with most inventions things CAN go wrong. Imagine how disasterous that would be if we all turned into zombies or killers or psyho's or something close.. LOL.. Btw I'm fine just too caught up in life to blog right now.. tks for asking..

MotoRama said...

Mermaid,
You're right.Acceptance-good or bad is the first step towards changing oneself.

Chay,
Missed it but Oprah is now on my Tivo list.Thanks for letting me know.The concept sure intrigues me.

Ardra,
Glad u think so!I think in this case,the comments are more interesting than the blog.

Misreflection,
To me one of the coolest scenes in Matrix is the scene Trinity is "loaded" with the program of operating that helicopter.Yeah..i agree the same "loading" can lead to bad things.Hope you return to blogging soon rejenuvated!

Pincushion said...

A very thoughtfuland well articulated post here Ram and a topic thats very close to my heart.

The same energy is used to create and kill, the same energy runs through a boiler and a refrigerator! Two very opposing outcomes using the same tools..and so its upto we the people, ultimately to choose either outcome. Unfortunately the world has become more and more outward looking, it has no desire to look inwards and unless we do that..go within rather than without..Nature, I am sure like a parent meting out tough love, will smack us on our backside and we shall once again be where we started out! Which may not be such a bad thing after all!

MotoRama said...

You got the essence Cushion!I think we need to make sure we dont mess with too much the natural things,else it wud mean destruction and back to Stone Age!