Wisdom and Technology

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Technology, the fusing of science and commerce, has probably been the single greatest contributor to shaping the modern philosophy. We cannot hide from the fact that the development of technology was driven by mechanization, mass-production and there-after big business. This is causing an ever-widening split between knowledge and wisdom. Even today there is a belief that a knowledge-driven economy is more powerful than the neighbors with less technical savvy. Leaders, be they big business, heads of institutions or even government make decisions based on material gain and temporal power.

This is not a new trend. Justice and equality have been the cloaks disguising these same people for over 2000 years now. There has been one law for the rich and another for the poor, be they peoples or countries.

But modern technology is testing this method of social development. As we develop more sophisticated weapons of mass destruction and discover how to manipulate the building blocks of living organisms, we have moved ever further from the purpose of life on this planet. Childish catch-phrases hide a far deeper truth of where we are heading as a species. Saying ‘yes, we can’ ‘knowledge is power’ or ‘I’m worth it’ all encapsulate the mood and attitude of a hormonal teenager. ‘The Icarus effect’, if you want a catch-phrase. Being able does not make an action right. The South American shaman have a saying that any action must be judged by its effect for forty-nine generations. That’s nearly a thousand years. Modern technology, being the goose that lays the golden egg has a built-in flaw. It states “have now pay later”.

No one knew the effect that exploding an atomic bomb would have on the human gene. Yet it was used. No one knew the effect that thalidomide would have on the development of the human fetus. Yet it was in every pharmacy for the pregnant mother. There has not been sufficient research into the effect of genetically modified life forms on the entire ecosystem, yet it has been used commercially for many years now. We have used plastic for nearly 150 years, yet knew it would take hundreds of years to recycle.

So we now have islands of garbage the size of countries floating on the oceans, never mind the toxic effect it has in a landfill. No one is taking seriously the evidence that microwave radiation from mobile phones and masts could be harmful to humans. The phones are almost a physical necessity in the same way sight or the use of our limbs would be considered essential to our quality of life. And for once the mass of humanity will not insist on thorough research because they feel empowered. There is also the damage being done via the television and computer screen. The biological eye, human or animal was not designed to look directly at a light source. This is why we are warned never to look directly at the sun. Visual information is from reflected light. Yet here is a machine, the design of which is based on just that principle. Again, who has questioned its effect in the next fifty years, never mind 1000 years? And the golden goose counts the profits in cloning. If someone would merely distance themselves long enough to look around and see the big picture, the life forms on earth and, as far as we can see, in the universe, already do clone, with the added ability to adapt to the new environment. This is what Charles Darwin called evolution.

By reproducing an exact replica of any given life form there must be a suppression of the genes that cause adaptation. In which case any clone will have no ability to change biologically. If it can then reproduce itself through procreation, in a very few generations the species would die out. This is witnessed in the effect of inbreeding in a species, as any farmer would verify. It is the reason incest is socially unacceptable. And not as assumed, from moral or emotional criteria. Rather, for the more instinct-based motive of a perpetuation of the species. Perhaps if we look at a simple ratio and analogy, the visualization will give us a clearer picture of the absolute necessity to use wisdom. It is the only hope for our survival as a species and for the whole eco-system, it depends on. The earth is 24887.64 miles at the equator. This means the center of the earth is 3963 miles below our feet. The highest mountain, Everest is about 4 miles above sea level. Human life cannot live at this height. The average depth of the oceans is less than three miles. 

But we cannot survive at these depths. Life as we know it lives in a very narrow band on the earth. By comparison, an average apple is about 23cm in circumference. This means the core is at a depth of 3.6cm from the surface. And its skin is approximately 1mm thick. The thickness of an apple skin is more than 5 times the bandwidth of area we call life on earth. And as we build another nuclear plant or drop another bomb, remember this bandwidth includes the air we breathe. I wonder how many people would enjoy smoking tobacco if they had to do it inside a glass helmet. Yet this is exactly the same effect in our atmosphere every time we use combustion as a source of energy. The ancient wisdom described our planet as a fertile woman and our sun as a virile man. We would do well to think on this analogy. And where we, as humans fit into the picture. May the force be with you.

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