A Philosophy of Hope
The purpose of technology at one time was to aid in survival, comfort and protection for a species. From the first time that a human picked up a stone to crack open a nut or throw it at an enemy, we began the advance. The tools of technology have indeed helped us prosper as we have moved on to super computers, genetic manipulations and advanced weaponry and more. Where does the race for technology lead us when it makes us more machine than human, or less humane than humane?
How do we keep a moral compass when technology is able to change the very essence of our body and minds, invade our deepest privacies or destroy all life on the planet? Who is to say where the line is drawn on that moral compass?
Currently, we have world panels on things such as human cloning, genetic manipulation, overpopulation, quantum exploration and space exploration. Unfortunately, those are only the tip of the iceberg in technology development. We still have to deal with thing such as mind reading devices (yes, people are really working on it), invisibility cloaks, fusion reactors, human-like robots featuring artificial intelligence-and, well any reasonable person will get the idea! Much of these and many, many other technologies are being developed in secret with private funding. Not to mention, of course, government-funded projects.
Some of our finest philosophical structure on moral decision has always stemmed in one way or another from our religious text. History has proven that science and religion are often, if not mostly at odds. Is it possible to strike a balance?
It is very easy to speak about the negative aspects of technological advance, but the good far outweighs the bad. Even with that debatable statement, what’s good technology and bad technology is often heatedly contested! Is genetic manipulation good or bad? It could eventually end genetic disease and possible eradicate other life threatening disease. How could we ignore the big “A” – abortion? (This is not to be debated here.)
When technology becomes negatively invasive of the physical, mental, and emotional well being of the populace, it is no longer serving the public good. We do not even agree on the definition of what technology is negative or invasive.
The truth is our technology has far outstripped our philosophy. What cannot ever happen is that we let technology outstrip our humanity, our decency and human compassion.
Can we ever create or agree on a philosophy that will stop the steamroller of invention? If we cannot agree on people’s basic rights and principles, it will be a very difficult goal to reach. We could start by talking, using tolerance not as a word, but a working practice. We can educate against intolerance and speak up on our issues. We can use the philosophical and religious tools that are available to us now to help toward humanity’s understanding, and education about each other. There is always after all – hope for the future.