Masters of the Universe
Technology takes us away from our true nature. The further we get from our true nature, the more lost we become.
The will - the universe, the life-force, the all, God - expresses all of its possibilities in its many manifestations. Things clash, bite, swoop, soar, glide, drop, run, trickle. Things are rooted, immovable; flowing and unplaceable.
Each manifestation is blessed with certain potentialities; certain things that it is "adapted" for, or meant to do. The Swallow is expert at gliding over the water but not at swimming on it. The Duck is not so agile in the air, but can swim.
The form of a 'thing' shows us what it is meant to do: its nature is displayed in its appearance.
Humans, as with all other creatures, have a certain range of potentialities; a nature. Our hands allow us to grab and manipulate, our legs to run; and so on. As with other things, there are limits to our potential; borders to our nature.
Our technology has allowed us to transcend our limits. Lacking wings, we cannot fly. It is not in our nature. And so we come up with devices that allow us to get round this limitation.
Through technology we mimic the potentialities of all other things. We go beyond the borders of our own nature - as defined by our bodies - and become something else. We are, in this sense, like a child who is given a great gift; but, looking around at other children, sees that they have different gifts. Our own is - for whatever reason - not enough, and so we insist that all gifts must be ours.
Through technology we aspire to become everything.
We are now king of the jungle. We have secured the top spot at the table. We are less at the mercy of our environment, more able to defend ourselves from danger. This appears to be a good thing for the individual; if we define "good" as being that which allows the individual - in the here and now - to live longer and more comfortably. It appears to be good for the species because it allows us to dominate the scene.
But this definition of "good" is fundamentally short-sighted. It is "good" in the way that junk food is "good"; in other words, good in the now. It gets lost in the taste of things, but does not see the long-term harm that these things will do.
The further we stray from our true nature, the bigger mess we find ourselves in. We do not understand the larger balance, and cannot hope to replicate it through technology. As we get further and further away from our nature, we are faced with more and more problems; and our answer is to medicate these problems with technology; high-tech short-term solutions that - being more technology - only serve to take us ever further away.
And so more problems spring up; and our answer? More technology!
In this way we find ourselves on an endless downwards spiral; no sooner have we patched up one hole then another two appear. Our battle is endless, and will always be endless. This is because of a simple truth that we refuse to collectively accept: that no amount of technology - regardless of how advanced it is - will allow us to reach the peak of the mountain from where we can see it all and understand it all.
No amount of technology will allow us to become God.
So whilst technology continues to be good for us - as individuals in the here and now - we are on a time limit. Just as a person can get away with eating junk food for a time without any serious consequences, eventually their bad habits will catch up with them. In acting in the interests of the individual in the here and now - in acting with a short-term mindset - we are neglecting the long-term picture. In practical terms, our short-sighted self-interest has negative consequences for our environment. We are fine - for now - but everything around us suffers.
The mind fools itself into thinking that it is fine, whilst the body slowly deteriorates.
Just as the person consuming junk food is "fine" - in other words - can go on consuming junk food - we, collectively, appear to be fine. This is because - like the junk food addict - we are choosing to ignore the signs that something is wrong. There are signs everywhere, but we cannot face them because they may force us to change our habits. Above all, we want to continue as we are: to go on eating, tasting, enjoying.
But there is only so much junk that a body can take. It will, eventually, give in.
We can define an organism as a system of 'things' that depend upon each other for their individual survival. The cells and organs of a body need each other; and we, as the body, need them. Inasmuch as we are reliant upon our environment for our survival - the creatures and life that surrounds us - then our organism expands to include all of this.
We are part of a larger 'body' - and we are taxing it to its limits.
It will give in.
And where will that leave the individual in the here and now?
Our answer to this threat is technology. We eat bad food and when problems arise we medicate them. And then we eat more bad food. More problems? More medication. We endlessly patch up a faulty machine. But there is only so much patching up we can do before the machine becomes irreparable.
We attempt to sever our reliance upon our environment - through technology - but lack the wisdom and insight to build a sustainable alternative. In jettisoning our current environment we assume the role of gods; but we do not see that compared to the wisdom of nature - the wisdom that permeates all things in the universe - we are merely hopeless children with expensive toys and inflated notions.
The answer to our problems is always staring us in the face; and it is simple. But it is the answer that none of us want to hear: stop eating junk food!
How we view this is probably dependent upon how far out we draw our borders. If our concern stretches no further than ourselves or our immediate family then we will not see the problem with any of this. Because, as we have seen, technology is good for the individual in the here and now.
We might be able to get away with our bad habits. But in doing so we pass a terrible legacy on to our children. We show them that we were too weak to defeat our addiction, and we pass the responsibility on to them. This is our gift to them.
The point will come when our body will give in: when we will have taxed our environment to the point where it can no longer support us.
Technology leads us down a never-ending spiral and at all times the answer is beneath our noses: stop doing the things that are bad for us.
We must remember our true nature.
We must stop running away from it - with all of its vulnerabilities - and come to terms with it.
Amongst other things, this means coming to terms with death. We must stop trying to defeat it, stop trying to lengthen our lives. Stop taking for granted that a longer life is always a good thing. It is only a good thing to a people that are growing ever more scared of dying.
We must die sooner. Die more. Get used to shorter lives again.
To do this we must weave a culture that tells different stories. That accepts death and paints it in a positive light. We must create a culture that tells stories which encourage us to lead sustainable lives.
If the mainstream culture will not do this, then it is up to us to create our own sub-cultures - sanctuaries where new stories can be told, and new people created.
It is these people - with our help - that will bring us back to balance.
A trip abroad = a large juicy hamburger
An immersive computer game = a chocolate bar
The internet = a tub of ice cream
A film = a large popcorn
All these things taste good. But what are the long term consequences of our indulgence?
The Real Thing
Taking the Rough with the Smooth