The Inevitable Failure Of Technology

We Devise New Technologies To Serve Us And In Our Boundless

A few days ago I was in Salem, Massachusetts. Whenever I visit this charming hamlet I am acutely aware that short centuries ago people like me, (who manifest mental illness in splashy, colorful ways), were subjected to questionable judicial proceedings, found to be practitioners of witchcraft, and summarily executed. When I leave, after a day of enjoyable tourism, I do so with a sense of gratitude that I live in a more enlightened age.

In the climate controlled splendor of the Peabody Essex Museum I found myself examining a page from an original Gutenberg Bible. Now, we will leave the absurd, disturbing subject matter of this dense, complex book for another day and focus instead on the descriptive text next to the glass case which read, in part – Johannes Gutenberg – 1395-1468 – Named “Man of the Millennium” by TIME Magazine in recognition of his profoundly significant contribution to world culture.

Naturally my first thought after reading this was – wow, who knew TIME Magazine was still in business?

“Technology has democratized the tools of creativity, resulting in a tsunami even more cretinous and loathsome than anticipated.” Taz Mopula

While we think of movable type as something related to literature and philosophy, it is in fact a technological breakthrough. Let’s say, more engineering than art.  As such, it could never qualify as the most important achievement of the millennium because it did not improve the soul of man. Indeed, by putting the bible in the hands of millions it may easily be argued that it set human evolution back several millennia.

“Humans can repair mechanical problems; but machines cannot repair human problems, only manifest them in new forms.” Taz Mopula

For some time, humanity has put its faith in technology, with catastrophic results. TIME Magazine’s deification of Gutenberg is an excellent example of this, as is the recent Steve Jobs adulation orgy. Jobs was flamboyant and had an uncanny gift for marketing and developing machines that look and behave the way people want them to look and behave. But again, the consequence of his contribution is strictly technological, not spiritual, and therefore cannot be considered deeply important.

Humanity does not have problems; humanity is the problem. If Gutenberg and Jobs have taught us anything at all they have proven beyond debate that more communication is not necessarily better communication and, as ever, the difficulty isn’t the car, it’s the loose nut behind the wheel.

Self-Actualization

Arrogance And Intellegence Yes Arrogance Wisdom No

I have learned never to confuse facts and information with knowledge, much less wisdom. In “the information age” there is an endless waterfall of data, but who is there to teach us how we can make sense of it? Mere information is almost valueless and the glut of information we have today is actually an impediment to healthy living. As ever, balance is the key – and you will never achieve balance in the absence of wisdom.

You can get education from others but wisdom, sadly, must come from within. In general, the important lessons of life arrive on the business end of a 2×4. So, for starters, don’t think there are short cuts; the best way to learn is to live. You must have the experiences yourself for them to mean anything.

I think of the process sequentially, so, for want of a better name, let’s call it the Taz Mopula Hierarchy of Self-Actualization – TMHSA – and have a look.

1. Know Yourself. – Few people attack this step and most of the ones that do, fail. It requires curiosity, relentless determination, and brutal honesty.

2. Forgive Yourself. – Only after thoroughly understanding yourself, the good and the bad, is it truly possible to forgive yourself for character flaws and harm done.

3. Love Yourself. – Do not confuse this with narcissism; it is all about unqualified acceptance, humility, and gratitude. The universe loves you, why disagree?

4. Enjoy Yourself. – You can easily spot people that have made it this far, they have absolutely no envy, they can’t think of anyone else they would rather be.

5. Allow Others To Enjoy You Enjoying Being Yourself. – This is the ultimate, it involves you allowing others to enjoy the real you, even if it means suffering their admiration.

The wisdom here is that you will enjoy life, you will have healthy priorities, and you will have purpose. In a situation like this, doing triage on the deluge of useless information clamoring for your attention will be child’s play.