The question of technology is surely one of the most challenging aspects of our times. It has changed us, is changing us, and will likely continue to do so in ways we can only try to imagine. And in reflecting on the potential of that, I’m really looking at the roots of that word: power, ‘being able’, and ideas around qualities that may be developed for future success.
In a way, technology seems to be the enshrined or codified sense of our understanding. Thought itself, logic, and a certain way of reasoning have essentially ‘become’ technology. And in seeking to apply that we are in turn recreating our current sense of understanding over how the world is and should be organised (see Note One).
Rather than being unique to technology, that’s maybe more the outcome of modern thinking: a way of life that was once deeply interwoven with our dependence on environment has gradually risen above that to a more abstract sense of mastery (Note Two). But, as in that post, there seems a risk of our starting points somehow evolving into contorted versions of their original truths.
Surely we need a very clear understanding of the paths to our present realities and the intentions behind these structures we’re replicating, if we don’t want to be ‘locking in’ something that could prove damaging (Notes Three). The fact we’re essentially changing how we relate to one another based on the tech realities we’re creating seems a fascinating if daunting experiment with human nature.
Of course, technology enables us to move forward in ways never before possible. It’s undoubtedly an incredible leap for human connectedness, knowledge and awareness. But it seems that if we’re not entirely aware of what we’re doing we risk being limited by design and possibly trapped by that lack of understanding: if the ideas we’re programming into technology are shaping us in new ways, what if we are mistaken?
Technology also has this strange ability to somehow make things simultaneously easier and more difficult (Note Four). In so many areas we seem to be grappling with the benefits it offers as much as our ability to not let it take over our lives. We clearly know it has the power to completely transform human society, but it’s also a force to be reckoned with in many ways.
In saying that, I’m thinking of how we struggle with the sheer pace and volume of content that now overwhelms us on a daily basis. Also how the changes being brought about in this way seem largely out of our control. Holding our own in a world of rapid change requires great strength and certainty, qualities seemingly undermined by the very nature of that reality (Note Five).
Technology undeniably offers amazing opportunities for communication, coordination and effectiveness (Notes Six); but not without challenging our self-control and thorough understanding of all that’s gone before. Hopefully, we are able to rise to the challenge of making this a constructive force within modern society.
Notes and References:
Note 1: Using internet to construct community
Note 2: Culture and the passing of time
Note 3: “Education’s End”
Note 3: “Response Ability” by Frank Fisher
Note 3: Culture, art & human activity
Note 4: Pre-tech in film
Note 5: “Paradox of Choice”
Note 6: Modern activism in practice
Note 6: Blogs illustrating ways of being