We live in an era described by our cultural savants, as the “Age of Communication.” Most everyone would nod their head in approval to the above description. Most everyone too, would agree that it is technology which is the primary catalysis behind this communication era. Technology, which is the applicatio walking stick which supports and leads our country’s progress. All hope for a better tomorrow rests ultimately within the scientific fields and their inventive technologies. Consequently, the logic of our collective belief system forecasts that all the major problems existing in our country will succumb eventually to the technologies of science: optimum health for all, alleviation of the aging process, cheap renewable energy, etc., etc.
Science has become mystical to us. Mystical in that we experience the operation and manipulation of its created products, but know not of their theory and design. Thus we have come to deify science and worship at the alter of its technology. To most of us, scientific theories have advanced beyond our immediate comprehension, but we can directly experience their truth by owning and manipulating the technology derived from them. It is in this ability of ownership and use of scientific technology that we can become one with science, transforming our inadequate comprehension by the mystical ritual of manipulation. For example, in owning and operating a computer, we directly participate in the complex scientific theories that are the creative bases behind its technology, even though we don’t understand its theories. Through ownership and operational mastery of scientific technology we become the proselyte of science, and we are thus initiated into its mysteries. And to further mark the point-Were do we send our computers when they breakdown;? to the priests and priestesses of computer technology, the Geek Squad.
As the cloak of scientific mystery continues to be wrapped tightly around us, we lose our awareness of where all scientific technology originates. We forget that all scientific theories, technologies, inventions, and innovations, no matter how extraordinary, are creations from a human mind and are not miraculous, manifestations from a divine source. As such, they contain, not only humans great capacity for creation, but also their great impulse to become lost in their own narrow, selfish desires.
If we closely examine the primary desires moving most all of technological development in our society today, we will find that underneath the mystical, scientific veil, beats a heart of greed, ambition, power, domination, honors, and prestige. All of which is played out upon a frenetic field of intense competition and urgency. The disturbing reality is that the fuel that fires our entire economy does not come from our highest virtues, but from our lowest vices. We value appearance over character, money over morality, power over equanimity, dominance over cooperation, and prestige over humility. We have become victims of our own narrow and selfish desires, and have planted the seed of destruction within our own house.
Theologian, Harvey Cox, in his book, “The Feast of Fools” gives in one paragraph, a clear and insightful account of the causes and results of our souless, technological culture.
” In Western Civilization we have placed an enormous emphasis
on man as a worker (Luther & Marks) and man as thinker (Aquinas & Descartes)
Man’s celebrative and imaginative faculties have atrophied. This worker thinker
empasis enforced by philosophy, and sanctified by Christianity, helped to produce the
monumental achievements of Western Science and industrial technology.
Now, however, we can begin to see that our productivity has extracted a price.
Not only have we gotten it at the expense of millions of other people in the poorest
ations, not only have we ruined countless rivers and lakes and poisoned our
atmosphere, we have also terribly damaged the inner experience of man. We have
pressed him so hard towards useful work and rational calculation that he has all
but forgotten the joy of ecstatic celebration, antic play, and free imagination. His
shrunken psyche is just as much a victim of industrialization as were the bent bodies
of those luckless children who were once confined to English factories from dusk til dawn.”
We must awaken from our self indulgent sleep and remember, that scientific technology originates from our own minds, that we have the capacity to direct our inventions and innovations with a clear mind, and to nourish those technologies whose roots are deep within the soil of social balance and harmony. We must awake from our sleep of being separate and recall that we are all relatives, that what each of us does touches us all, for good or for ill, and that we are to care for one another, Mother Earth, and all creatures that walk, crawl, swim and fly.
Wherever Gatuma the Buddha would go people would invariably ask what he was: “Are you a saint? a devil? a god? an angle?” Gatuma the Buddha would answer, “I am awakened.” It is time for us to awaken, and begin to lead our lives by our higher selves, to value character over appearance, morality over money, equanimity over power, cooperation over dominance, and humility over prestige.