“It does no good to make fantastic progress, if we don’t know how to live with it, and if, in fact, our technology becomes nothing more than an expensive and complicated way of cultural disintegration…..the fact remains that we have created for ourselves a culture which is not yet livable for mankind as a whole.” ~ Thomas Merton
I think about what Merton often wrote, as a person who has been in high tech for most of my working career I have experienced, the good, the bad, and the ugly of technology, and that is what makes me think about what Merton wrote. I would say for all of us, we have enjoyed technology to some degree, and like any other tool in history, someone has found ways to do ‘evil‘ with the same technology.
Is this just the human condition?
I find myself with others discussing the “three boxes” we call Order-disorder-Reorder. These three boxes are necessary stages or phases in our life of being human, we find ourselves progressing through…some get stuck in one of the first two boxes sometimes way too long.
I ask myself the question ‘is the human technological condition still in the ‘order’ box the construction stage, and needs to go through deconstruction and eventually re-construction to reach the I-thou stage?’
Thinking in terms of Aristotle, can humans use technology to achieve Eudaimonia? For Aristotle, eudaimonia was his understanding of the human being practicing the greater good.
Merton in the Asian Journal talks about “primal awareness” and how primal awareness is the epiphanic moment we get, that great smile on our face when we come to experience the ‘rain’, the ‘wet grass‘, the ‘sand‘ between our toes, and that overwhelming experience of the Cosmic Greater Good, the silence of nature, which is the connectedness between the significant other, the universe and us.
A walk in the woods, wandering in nature, a stroll down a beach, just maybe will be the moment of cosmic awakening, a Merton Fourth & Walnut consciousness for us as human beings.
After all, should not technology assist us in meeting the Universe? Meeting the Significant other?