17. Reflections on Technology: Jolts to Traditional Values

One may legitimately ask how technology could be blamed for some of the social problems mentioned above.  In answer, we may first point out to the correlation bet­ween the advent of a complex technological society on the one hand and the recorded increase in the number of cases of social problems on the other.

One can, moreover, see that indirectly modern technology and science have also had some serious impacts of traditional beliefs and values.  To begin with, no matter what theologians say and the Churches declare, the common man in inclined to think that science rather than the Scriptures are to be trusted when it comes to the matter of ex­plaining and interpreting the world.  This already shakes the very foundations of religious beliefs.  When a child gets sick, most parents take it to the doctor or to the hospital rather than to the priest or to the preacher.  Sinner or no sinner, all patients do get cured by the same medication.  This casts some doubt on the formerly held notion that we suffer because of our past misbehavior and evil thoughts.  As a result, the moral constraints of earlier times – which depended largely on imagi­nary unhappy aftermath for proscribed indulgences – are also being removed.

Then again, science and technology have not only diminished effort and ailment, but also increased possibilities for pleasure and excitement.  But an important charac­teristic of physical pleasures is that one not only tires of them soon, but often craves for more, and for heightened levels of excitement.  This leads to more search and to greater restlessness.  Easy excitement is provided by chemical stimulants; hence the drive for drugs.

Moreover, in an open society where experiences are numerous and the sexes mingle freely and away from their respective spouses in professional contexts, oppor­tunities arise for mutual sharing and attractions.  Outlets from domestic boredom are opened up, and the seeds of marital disharmony may thus be sown.

That is why the ancient prayer pleads with the Lord not to lead one into tempta­tion, which is precisely what technological society does.

October 3, 2010

Published by:

Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.

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