Categories
- Empowerment - Science Development Discourse

Technology: Good or Bad?

It would be unrealistic to adhere to a retrogressive and romanticized notion of a “simple” life, in which technology is non-existent, and humanity subsists in some type of passively blissful coexistence with nature. It overlooks at once the inter-personal needs that technology satisfies with enhanced communication as well as the life-salvaging benefits of medical intervention, for examples. Retrogressive viewpoints for a romanticized past  are the result of rampant conservativism driven delusional by nostalgia.  It exists in the middle east, with Islamic revolutionary retrogression in the democratized states of the Arab spring, as well as in the United States with the spokespeople of the religious right. Retrogression exists anywhere conservatism blinds people to the evolving needs to which time subjects human societies. Its proponents become entrenched in and bolster the status quo against mounting evidence for desperately required change. An “ever-advancing civilization” is God’s own characterization of the human condition to which we are all contributors. It is this same retrogression that has prevented the recognition of progressive revelation in the manifestation of the various religions that have come to man from God over the centuries. Ever wonder why they don’t call it conservative revelation?

The concept of an ever-advancing civilization, material as well as spiritual, is central to our conceptual framework for social action, where we work for wholesale social transformation. It is inevitable that because of the never-ceasing tide of human needs and opportunities to improve social services and streamline infrastructure that our ever-advancing civilization will require a never-ending form of technological innovation, change, and development. As far as we are concerned, then, the challenge before humanity is not whether it should opt for high and sophisticated technology (eventuating in World War III) or low and simple technology (releasing humanity to care-free co-existence with mother nature) — this is a false choice, a false dichotomy. The question regarding technology, rather, is how to develop and apply technologies that are conducive to spiritual, and not only material, prosperity? And how in doing so does such technology organically extend the benefits of materially and spiritually prosperous civilization to members of the entire human race? Is technology doomed to be manipulated as the instrument of materialism forever? Are technological choices possible? What choices and how as a society can we make them? Share your comments below.

Categories
- Religion - Science Development Discourse Health Care Knowledge

Poverty and Revelation

Poverty is as ineradicable as the house-fly! The misguided conviction that material resources exist, or can be created by scientific and technological enterprise, to entirely eradicate poverty is a myth of global scope. Social scientists are hardly necessary to uncover the reason for this manifest paradox: scientific  and  technological research pursue a  set  of  priorities set by financial interests and corporate investors. This elite technocratic minority is pursuing its own vision of middle class consumer desires and marketing entertainment. Science and technology therefore are the pet projects of a wealthy elite and their professional priorities. If scientific research does impact the lives of the masses it does so because it is tangentially related to the real interests of the generality of humankind.

A radical reordering of these priorities will be required if the burden of poverty is finally to be lifted from the world. Such an achievement demands a determined quest for appropriate values, a quest that will painfully purge humankind of both its spiritual mis-orientation and scientific structure. Religion must lead the way in setting new priorities, with humankind and the generality of the masses as its beneficiaries. The agenda must be set by the most dire and widespread of global human needs. With research topics that identify agriculture, education, sanitation, infectious disease, and other issues as the thrust of scientific and technological advancement.

Mainstream religion will be severely handicapped in contributing to this undertaking as long as it remains a prisoner to outmoded traditions, sectarian doctrines which cannot distinguish between metaphors in their scripture designed to motivate people, and stories told to 6th graders to keep them from misbehaving in the teachers absence. Contentment and mere passivity are not the same thing, and mainstream religion must learn to express the distinction which entails keeping up with modern trends in social justice and moving beyond an obsolescent past of sexual and racial prejudices.

Ascetic interpretations of mainstream religion which teach that poverty is an inherent feature of earthly life, the escape to which lies only in a world beyond, deserve to pass like the tide of eurocentric prejudices that we have passed beyond already, into the next world. Humanity no longer requires ancient religious practices to inform its scientific agendas, research values, or social priorities. To participate effectively in the struggle to bring material well-being to humanity, the religious spirit must find — in the Source of inspiration from which it originally flowed — a new commitment to life in the 21st century. New spiritual concepts and principles must be conjured up, or if none can be found then new religions must be embraced.

Religion with Authority Divine in origin; religion with Revelation satisfying in volume; religion with administration democratic in representation; religion with followers selfless in unity; religion with education first rate in its caliber and accessible globally — religion with values worthy to restructure the priorities of scientific research, is needed to answer the question of poverty.

Poverty