Technology

In the context of this more mature discourse, the Valdez oil spill is no longer seen as an Alaskan matter, an “episode” in the geography of pollution. Rather it is recognized as a social act that raises such “accidents” to the level of systemic problems-rooted not in consumerism, technological advance, and population growth but in an irrational system of production, an abuse of technology by a grow-or-die economy, and the demographics of poverty and wealth. Ecological dislocation cannot be separated from social dislocations.
The social roots of our environmental problems cannot remain hidden without trivializing the crisis itself and thwarting its resolution.

But it is much later in the game now, and ignorance of the score is inexcusable. To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple.

Why do we think technology is above morality? ... The real question is, 'How should I conduct my life?' rather than 'What tools should I use?'

A series of things have come up since then that have made the problem incredibly grimmer…. The ozone hole… acid rain… Three hundred million people have starved to death since THE POPULATION BOMB was written. The famines weren’t as large as agriculturists thought they would be… due to the spread of… Green Revolution technology into the poor countries…. What makes us nervous right now is that we’re faced with again having to do something desperate to increase our food production greatly... In 1965 we knew exactly how to do it, the question was could we deploy it fast enough—Today we have nothing left to deploy—that’s very scary... As a species we’re not able to live on our income; we’re living on our capital, our deep rich agricultural soils are being destroyed, water is being overpumped, and our biodiversity, our life support system—we’re already far beyond what we can support.

The idea that we can just keep growing forever on a finite planet is totally imbecilic... Julian Simon, a professor of junkmail marketing, and his kind, think technology will solve everything... We can use up the Earth then we can just jump into spaceships and fly somewhere else... Technology does nothing to solve problems of biodiversity or living space or arable cropland... Fresh water and arable cropland are finite resources... We are already far beyond what we can support sustainably... The provincial view you get from someone living in some wealthy American East Coast city is wildly different from reality. Most of the world is tropical, hungry and poor. Visit the developing world and southern hemisphere and you get a very different view of reality.

Is it not a fact that a learned physician is better equipped to diagnose and to cure an illness than a layman or the medicine-man of a primitive society? Is it not a fact that epidemics and dangerous individual diseases have disappeared only with the beginning of modern medicine? Must we not admit that technology has made tremendous advances since the rise of modern science? And are not the moon-shots a most and undeniable proof of its excellence? These are some of the questions which are thrown at the impudent wretch who dares to criticize the special positions of the sciences. The questions reach there polemical aim only if one assumes that the results of science which no one will deny have arisen without any help from non-scientific elements, and that they cannot be improved by an admixture of such elements either. "Unscientific" procedures such as the herbal lore of witches and cunning men, the astronomy of mystics, the treatment of the ill in primitive societies are totally without merit. Science alone gives us a useful astronomy, an effective medicine, a trustworthy technology. One must also assume that science owes its success to the correct method and not merely to a lucky accident. It was not a fortunate cosmological guess that led to progress, but the correct and cosmologically neutral handling of data. These are the assumptions we must make to give the questions of the polemical force they are supposed to have. Not a single one of them stands up to a closer examination.

People are naming it the Third Wave, the Information Age, etc. but I would say those are basically technological descriptions, and this next shift is not about technology - although obviously it will be influenced and in some cases expressed by technologies.

At the heart of all of this is not technology but relationships, tens of millions of people working toward restoration and social justice... No culture has ever honored its environment but disgraced its people, and conversely, no government can say it cares for its citizens while allowing the environment to be trashed... The ultimate purpose of a global immune system is to identify what is not life affirming and to contain, neutralize, or eliminate it. Where communities, cultures, and ecosystems have been damaged, it seeks to prevent additional harm and then heal and restore the damage.

A series of things have come up since then that have made the problem incredibly grimmer…. The ozone hole… acid rain… Three hundred million people have starved to death since THE POPULATION BOMB was written. The famines weren’t as large as agriculturists thought they would be… due to the spread of… Green Revolution technology into the poor countries…. What makes us nervous right now is that we’re faced with again having to do something desperate to increase our food production greatly... In 1965 we knew exactly how to do it, the question was could we deploy it fast enough—Today we have nothing left to deploy—that’s very scary... As a species we’re not able to live on our income; we’re living on our capital, our deep rich agricultural soils are being destroyed, water is being over-pumped, and our biodiversity, our life support system—we’re already far beyond what we can support.

The idea that we can just keep growing forever on a finite planet is totally imbecilic... Julian Simon, a professor of junkmail marketing, and his kind, think technology will solve everything... We can use up the Earth then we can just jump into spaceships and fly somewhere else... Technology does nothing to solve problems of biodiversity or living space or arable cropland... Fresh water and arable cropland are finite resources... We are already far beyond what we can support sustainably... The provincial view you get from someone living in some wealthy American East Coast city is wildly different from reality. Most of the world is tropical, hungry and poor. Visit the developing world and southern hemisphere and you get a very different view of reality.

But if we misuse the technology and destroy the very resources we intend to harvest, I think we deserve the blame.

As a matter of strict logic, perhaps, there is no contradiction in taking an interest in animals on both compassionate and gastronomic grounds. If a person is opposed to the infliction of suffering on animals, but not to the painless killing of animals, he could consistently eat animals that had lived free of all suffering and been instantly, painlessly slaughtered. Yet practically and psychologically it is impossible to be consistent in one's concern for nonhuman animals while continuing to dine on them. If we are prepared to take the life of another being merely in order to satisfy our taste for a particular type of food, then that being is no more than a means to our end. In time we will come to regard pigs, cattle, and chickens as things for us to use, no matter how strong our compassion may be; and when we find that to continue to obtain supplies of the bodies of these animals at a price we are able to pay it is necessary to change their living conditions a little, we will be unlikely to regard these changes too critically. The factory farm is nothing more than the application of technology to the idea that animals are means to our ends. Our eating habits are dear to us and not easily altered. We have a strong interest in convincing ourselves that our concern for other animals does not require us to stop eating them. No one in the habit of eating an animal can be completely without bias in judging whether the conditions in which that animal is reared caused suffering.

Ideational culture, has these characteristics: The defining principle is that true reality is supersensory, transcendent, spiritual. The material world is variously: an illusion (maya), temporary, passing away (“stranger in a strange land”), sinful, or a mere shadow an eternal transcendent reality. Religion often tends to asceticism, or attempts at zealous social reform. Mysticism and revelation are considered valid sources of truth and morality.
Science and technology are comparatively de-emphasized... Economics is conditioned by religious and moral commandments (e.g., laws against usury). Innovation in theology, metaphysics, and supersensory philosophies. Flourishing of religious and spiritual art (e.g., Gothic cathedrals)

The suffering people of this world must come together to take control of their lives, to wrest political power from their present masters pushing them towards destruction. The Earth has been mistreated and only by restoring a balance, only by living with the Earth, only by emphasizsing knowledge and expertise towards soft energies and soft technology for people and for life, can we overcome the patriarchal ego.

Children who become too aware of things are punished for it and internalize the coercion to such an extent that as adults they give up the search for awareness. But because some people cannot renounce this search in spite of coercion, there is justifiable hope that regardless of the ever-increasing application of technology to the field of psychological knowledge, Kafka's vision of the penal colony with its efficient, scientifically minded persecutors and their passive victims is valid only for certain areas of our live and perhaps not forever. For the human soul is virtually indestructible, and its ability to rise from the ashes remains as long as the body draws breath.

A 2004 study found that teens who watch a lot of television with sexual content and more likely to initiate intercourse in the following year. Overexposure to highly-sexed television made kids act older--12-year-olds behaved like 14-year-olds. A decade of new research confirms that heavy exposure to violent and sexually explicit media triggers unhealthy responses from boys and girls alike, regardless of race. But we don't yet know the full effects of all this technology on our kids. CAMRA, the Children and Media Research Advancement Act, which I introduced in the Senate, would coordinate and fund new research into the effects of viewing and using electronic media, including television, computers, video games, and the Internet…

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.

It seems to demonstrate that periods of industrial activity in technical syntheses of principles, data, free energy and energy as matter, find highest employment by the fear-amassed credits of warfare. Therefore the assumption approaches fact that war promotes the major technical advances of civilization... What has not been clear is that the potential of this emergency-born technology has always accrued to human's prewar individual initiatives taken in a humble but irrepressible progression of assumptions, measurements, deductions, and codifications of pure science.

Think of it. We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, and give every human on Earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before -- that we now have the option for all humanity to make it successfully on this planet in this lifetime. Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment.

We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, and give every human on Earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before--that we now have the option for all humanity to make it successfully on this planet in this lifetime. Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment.