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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Technology - is it even necessary?

I have heard people argue on the merits of technology and how it has helped humanity more than otherwise. Before we think about its merits and de-merits, people...is technology even necessary to live happily? Sure, it has given us toys to play with and keep adults occupied but at what cost?

I take the view that technology has made lives more complicated than it should be. Seems like, I need to know ten things before I need to accomplish a simple manual task. The test of merit, in my opinion, is does technology actually make life simpler, happier and fulfilling? I think technology for the most part has made things more intricate (complicated), more work (stress) and less yielding on an individual level. The only value I see is the operationalzing of the word “mass”. In other words, mass communication, mass transport, mass data sharing etc. Technology has made mass exchange of data, things, and people happen thus today we have globalization across fields. However, I don’t think mass operations and globalization makes my life simpler and happier. On the contrary it brings layers of scrutiny only increasing process.

In the field of medicine, a special field, people argue on the merits of technology helping people cure diseases. I agree, technology in medicine has made great strides to help people recover illness and live happy lives. But at a philosophical level, still, we have more medical issues today than before due to our way of living which by the way was caused by technology in the first place. Cramped living, docile living, exploitation of Mother Nature & animals all have over the years’ impacted human body. These unnatural living conditions caused due to man's desire for technology have caused more disease than a simple life. Thus while medicine is necessary for cure, I think a simpler way of living does not need high-tech medicines to cure the human body. There is no necessity of performing high-end operations to cure heart attacks. In my opinion, all these diseases are a by-product of technology for the most part. I do agree that there are patients born with congential disorders and modern medicine does a good job of curing or at the least alleviating the problem. However, that population in comparison to the overall medical needs is absolutely minscule. The majority (99%) of the population seek medical services mostly influenced by the quality of living, eating and sleeping. This quality is invariably impacted by modern technological advances.

So while technology has created cures at one level, in another and bigger level is the cause of the illness. No more is preventive health practiced anymore.

The same can be said about landing a man on the moon or digging the earth for fossil records or creating realities at the nano-quantum scale. All this…is it necessary for me to live a simple, happy and fulfilling life? If I can live in a simple way without much complication, to me, is a litmus test for my quality of life. Perhaps without advent of technology, I would not have seen the Niagara in my lifetime if I was living on the other side of the planet (of course I would not worry about Niagara if I did not even know it exists), but at the least I would not have to sit in my car for 2 hours every day to get to work to just put food on my table and to counteract that stress, take anti-depressant and sleep-aid pills and for that pay 30% of my income to the insurance and doctors.

Honestly, to me, it all boils down to this – to eat healthy food, to have an active healthy life (not sedentary) and to sleep peacefully - to that end - is technology really needed?.

You are the judge!

In summary, technology has exploited our natural resources to the point of global reversals. Opulence is measured by government approved paper. This is our current state of affairs.

Srila Prabhupada reflects my sentiment succinctly “What is that higher standard? When there was no industry, in India, there was full of gold, jewelries. And now there is plastic”- A Transcendental Diary Vol 4" by HG Hari Sauri Prabhu

Hare Krishna

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