Saturday, July 27, 2013

Technology and Nature CAN Coexist in Harmony

I ran across an article on Resurgence & Ecologist that I really feel needs to be shared.  

This piece, entitled Latent Healing, discusses technology not only as an addiction (as most of us view it), but also as a special part of humans as a species

Don't let the title turn you away. 

I'm not a crystal-toting New Age devotee.  This isn't filled with a bunch of spiritual chants or meditations.  It is filled with one highly unusual, often ignored device, though:

Common sense.  Tons of it.

The author, Charles Eisenstein, begins in the manner that we're used to seeing.  He examines our love of technology, our dependence on it, as an addiction.  Not just any addiction, though.  An addiction based on our need to control things.
"As the word ‘fix’ implies, the logic of technology has very often been the logic of addiction. Feel bad? Have a drink. Feel even worse the next morning? Get drunk again. Depressed because you’ve now lost your job, your marriage and your health due to drinking? Well, why not do what made you feel better last night? Have another drink. As with agricultural chemicals, ever-increasing doses become necessary to maintain what was once your natural, normal state, and all at the cost of everything precious."
He examines not only why this is, but why technology doesn't have to be seen as the enemy. Specifically, he looks at the mentality he refers to as 'human exceptionalism', which is a pretty self-explanatory term, I think. 

On one side, we have people using technology to grow and control, while pushing back other types of growth.  On the other side, however, we have people demanding an end to this, and going back to the old ways... dreaming of an idyllic, better time that, (let's face it) never really existed.

He points out that as something created by humans, technology can be used as a way to be interconnected with ecology, rather than simply as a device that enables us create an artificial reality apart from nature. 

Enhancement and growth. For the entire eco-system.

Technology can be a tool, rather than a way of life.  We just need to find a way to get to that point.  As he explains,
"Ecology says that each species has a gift that enhances the wellbeing of the whole. The extinction of one species impoverishes the whole. Humanity is no different. The problem isn’t that we have the power of technology. The problem is that we have not used that power in the spirit of a gift. We have not used it in the spirit of ecology. We have not asked: “How might we best serve the totality of all life on Earth?” In contemplating a nuclear power plant, an incinerator, a subdivision, a mine, even a new patio behind our house, we are not in the habit of asking: “Does this best serve the wellbeing of all interested parties?” Our cost–benefit analyses do not include the trees, the water, the fish or the birds."
Eisenstein believes that this is something that could happen.  Not easy, of course, but attainable.  Consider what could be accomplished.
"What would the expression of our uniquely human gifts of hand and mind look like exercised in the spirit of service to all life? In the short and medium term, this is not a difficult question to answer. The most urgent need before us is to heal the damage that has been done in the millennia-long course of separation. Vast realms of technology, much neglected today, have been developing in the margins, awaiting their moment for full expression."
 He goes on to give a few examples of conservation and restoration technologies.  Some I've seen, such as composting toilets, and others I have only briefly heard mention of, such as the use of fungi for land detoxification purposes.  Awesome stuff, and well worth looking into.

The point is that these are technologies that can help us be more in harmony with the natural environment without forcing us to step away from the intellectual advances that are part of human nature. 

But it means taking the road less traveled. 

And that's scary.

We're already staring at that fork in the road.  We recognize that we need to do something to change.  Will we have the strength to follow through?

I've only brushed at the surface of what Charles Eisenstein is saying. You can find the entire article at the link for Resurgence & Ecologist below:

Latent Healing


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