One thing this global awakening (at least an awakening for me and my fellow shrews) has made me realize is that we all have been living in utter hell for quite some time. I won’t speak for you, but for me it seems all of the advancements in technology have not really done a damn thing to support the human spirit.
Sure, we may live longer, we don’t have parasites continually gnawing on our flesh, we don’t have rampant infections and internal horrors raging within our bodies (not usually but becoming more and more prevalent with cancer), we get to drive around in cars, fly all over the world, watch TV, play video games on the computer or our phones.
Yes, technology is also responsible for a lot of good things, like ease of procuring food, clean water, etc. but stay with me here.
Medical technology has done wonders to relieve much human suffering. Or has it? I am not a medical historian, but I have read often enough that today we have more diseases, more ailments, more heart troubles, more this more that.
How many times have you heard from the mouth of a centenarian that the key to his or her longevity is staying out of the doctor’s office?
Statistics show that hospitals are one of the most dangerous places to be. Of course there is more to it than this, but you know what I am getting at.
There certainly are enough people scrambling to get off the grid—throw away the cell phone, the TVs, the Internet, live miles from hospitals and doctors. Bush living—isn’t that letting go of most technology saying to hell with it?
Have you ever thought about how people fare in the third world where there is no national health service, very limited access to a doctor’s care, very little medical technology available? How do the millions out in the glorious countryside, miles from big cities, tending their sheep or goats, living a family life, dancing, laughing, and crying when grandma dies a natural death? How do they fare?
This probably describes much of the global population.
Sure, due to their limited access to medical services there are medical issues these people experience that would curl our toes as we live in our comfy first-world environment, but still…people may not live as long (or do they?) but they do survive, and probably live a decent life if protected from all the other things in the environment that could harm them (again, bad things out there essentially due to technology and the wonton poisoning of urban areas).
I could be talking out of my butt here…I am sure this sort of information (that people without medical services living the natural life are doing ok) is largely kept from us, but it seems the actual thing that makes people unhealthy in the rest of the world is hygiene, lack of clean water and nutritional deficiencies (lack of anything to eat)—all things that can be easily attributed to our advancement in technology (and its subsequent misuse), the resulting pollution, GMO and pesticide disasters, etc.
Am I wrong? Anyone out there reading this who are experts on this sort of thing want to set me straight? Please do…I would like to be better informed.
This topic is complicated. Of course the powers that be want us all to think that if it weren’t for the WHO, doctors, vaccines, and medical science, half the world would be dead by now.
That may actually be true, but what exactly would be killing us?—the natural world?—or the man-made world? It would be difficult to make this assessment, due, obviously, to the fact that there is no place on earth not infected by the greedy, and often evil, hand of man.
Other than medical issues, how else has technology diminished our lives? From a very broad perspective, what has gone down hill as technology has advanced up hill? Violence? Disease? Depression? Suicide? Anxiety? A feeling of meaninglessness? Less true happiness (being high with adrenalin and other ingested drugs doesn’t count), Loss of family values? Child abuse? Drug abuse? Alcoholism? Pedophilia? Isolation and abandonment?
Should I go on? What could you add to this list?
Correlation without causation? Maybe. But this is something I believe we should all think about a bit more than we do. For one example, I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen articles on how guns were in the culture in the ‘50s and earlier with little or no problems.
Gun clubs at schools where young people brought in rifles to target practice—no killings there. Clearly it isn’t the gun, and I am sorry to drill in that ubiquitous mantra from gun advocates, “guns don’t kill people, people do”—as much as that statement has problems, foundationally it is true.
The fact that it always takes a person behind a gun to cause damage and decades ago, before the erosion of the culture, people were not as apt to blow away children in the schoolyard. The very real reason why suddenly things are so different in our world is not seriously addressed—not at all, in fact.
What does the advancement of technology have to do with gun violence? Well, nothing directly other than more advanced automatic weapons, which does have something to do with the problem.
In fact, the evolution of technologically advanced killing machines is a huge part of the problem. Obviously we all know the entire planet could be incinerated with the click of a switch. Thanks to technology.
Technology has attributed, maybe more indirectly, to gun violence in all the fundamental ways this article suggests: the degradation of the culture, the focus on consumerism and materialism rather than human values and character, the isolation and abandonment of the young (particularly young males) the loss of soul and spirit, and thus the loss of human morals, i.e. the loss of love.
Am I being too extreme here? By the manner I am talking the only truly safe place to be a human lies in caveman times. I doubt if it is feasible to jump back into the past to such a simple existence.
Maybe to naturally bring us to a reset (oh, that word!) it will take a Noah type flood where everyone is wiped off the earth (a nuclear bomb, or several of them, are good modern replacements for a flood, or better yet, a killer virus!
Or even better yet, the killer vaccine for a virus!!) Or, can we make these important adjustments without having to start over from scratch? Can we be responsible with advancements in technology and stop making the mistakes we’ve been making just because the technology has to be profitable in order to be worth creating?
Can we train ourselves to not be so obsessed with consumerism? Or not be so obsessed with living forever (our relentless pursuit to perfect the human body with technology), or avoiding the commonly experienced pains and sufferings of the body? What is it from the past that we had that we no longer have that kept all of this in some sort of sublime order?
I believe we had more of an understanding of our spirit and soul than we do now. Yes, a lot of that awareness was brought to us through religion, but unfortunately as the materialist paradigm descended upon us religion lost its stature. We need to come back to a deep awareness of nature, and our part in it, to understand that we were designed to live and subsequently die a particular way (in harmony with nature and with an acute awareness of the mystery of creation surrounding us). We must learn to love again.
I for one would rather not return to being a caveman.
And I may be very unfair to blame technology per se for the troubles we see in our culture. Maybe it is more accurate to say it is the intention behind the advancement of technology that pulls us away from nature and away from our natural way of being. Whatever the detail and nuance, I stand by the general analysis I have made here.
We seem to have always been aware of the dangers of the advancement of AI, robotics, etc. But in my view our concerns have been expressed primarily for the wrong reasons: robots and advanced AI being a threat to our physical dominance over our environment, i.e., taking our jobs, being relegated to slavery by the “machines” etc.
Not many people seem to be concerned about our loss of soul, our loss of humanity, our loss of being human, and our loss of a connection to God. Yes, I said it, the “God” word. I mean it too.
That, to me, is the real threat, and if not addressed properly, it will be responsible for our eventual demise.
Todd Hayen is a registered psychotherapist practicing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He holds a PhD in depth psychotherapy and an MA in Consciousness Studies. He specializes in Jungian, archetypal, psychology. Todd also writes for his own substack, which you can read here
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