“But what about earth and all the people on it?”
“Tut, tut. We can’t let mere sentiment intrude. This is Science.” K.W. Jeter Infernal Devices
I do not hate science or technology. I am not a Luddite (hell, the Luddites weren’t even Luddites according to the contemporary usage of the word). While I am attracted to the “no-shiny-object” policy of some members of the anabaptist tradition, I utterly fail at that discipline. Despite what some of my friends and family may say (e.g. “You’re the youngest 87 year old I know” “Why don’t you join the 21st century” ,etc.), I am a product of my generation. The point of the preceding and proceeding posts is not, then, to utterly denounce science and technology, but rather to show in various circuitous ways that science and technological advancement have lost their anchoring in the seafloor of wisdom–that is culture, history, literature, and religion–and are floating about looking for some place to safely moor. Some of these posts will be more serious than others, but none are meant to be exhaustive. They are more like little flash-rants; too short to be called essays, too long to be written on a cardboard sign for a doomsday prophet to hold while standing on the street-corner.
It should be noted that during the course of the history of western civilization guardians of certain areas of wisdom have acted rather unseemly both toward science and to their own fields of study. Burning or even threatening to burn scientists at the stake is not usually the way to win friends or influence people. And, getting lost in the cobweb-filled labyrinth of 20th century literary theory, has not exactly given the study of literature the credibility and stature it needs in order to properly temper the more lucrative practical sciences.
So we find ourselves in a world where the academic study of humanities is all but dead. Art, music and literature programs are the first to be cut from public schools. Scientific and technological progress have either become ends to themselves, or they are the means of much more insidious and destructive forces, which seek to harness these advances for the purposes of greed and power-lust. And yet science and technology already do much to decrease suffering, and make the lives of all humans better. The potential to advance in this capacity is great, but science and technology cannot and will not do it alone.
Part of a (Long) Series of (Short) Posts about Science and Technology
The Tragic Irony of Technology Coltan, cellphones and being connected
Singularity, Progress, and Darwinian Common Sense Artificial Intelligence and Sciencism
Middleduction A post that would have made a nice introduction
Science Fiction as Prophetic Witness or Scientific Gospel? (coming soon)
Technology and Language u r n 4 a gr8 time, lol (coming soon)
Creating the Problem in order to Fix It (coming soon)
More on Sciencism (coming soon)
Kierkegaardian Dread (coming soon)