The evident question is almost never requested: what is the close of this enlargement of human manage and this endless technological reaching? I sense a communal dread about it. Are we constructing the Tower of Babel—a recurring trope this 7 days? Are we headed for the annihilation of humankind?
This earlier week, older people from throughout the place collected at Wyoming Catholic College or university with collaborating faculty to focus on the character and long term of technologies. We started on Sunday night by pondering about the Greek god of technology, Hephaestus, and we finished past evening at the property of our hosts, Jim and Dottie Tonkowich, imagining about the upcoming of know-how and how we may gain from it with no losing our human center and endangering our relation to God.
I just can’t discuss for the other school or contributors in this regard, but for me the main perception from the 7 days was the necessity of contemplating as deeply as probable about technology as the “dispensation” of our age. Technologies fascinates us. Previous evening I found out that a person of our contributors experienced driven a new Tesla from Florida to Lander. He informed me about several recharging programs, the issue of figuring out how to change on the windshield wipers, the notebook-sized dashboard display, and so on. In a way, the more “dazzled” we are (as just one of our participants set it) by unique innovations, the more difficult it is to keep pondering deeply into what technologies by itself is, but our readings this 7 days held bringing us back again to what Martin Heidegger calls “the issue concerning know-how.”
For a Tuesday session led by Dr. Paul Geisting, for example, we study Francis Bacon’s utopian narrative, The New Atlantis, which describes an island kingdom in the Pacific named Bensalem. When a representative of Salomon’s Home, the scientific academy of Bensalem, describes the end or objective of the operate there, he neatly summarizes what we could simply call the job of modern engineering: “the awareness of triggers, and magic formula motions of items and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all items possible.” Why are they enlarging “the bounds of the human empire”? Because they can. The challenge has no express intent to include to the glory of God, for instance, any acknowledgment of the Resurrection, or any reference to guidelines established by revelation. Nevertheless Bensalem itself is nominally Christian, Salomon’s Residence operates independently of each religion and politics.
Though science right now has been completely invaded by politics, the contemporary globe is nonetheless obviously engaged in “the effecting of all matters possible” 400 yrs right after Bacon’s reserve was released. “Nature” is now a social build. “Reality” is not adequate. In reality, rumor has it that we are all heading to be sporting wraparound digital fact headsets now that they are accessible from Apple instead of Meta.
The obvious problem is hardly ever requested: what is the stop of this enlargement of human handle and this infinite technological reaching? I perception a communal dread about it. Are we developing the Tower of Babel—a recurring trope this 7 days? Are we headed for the annihilation of humankind? This prospect, viewed as very likely in the nuclear-war situations of my childhood, was floated yet again in the media previous week. It was a a single-sentence statement produced by the Center for AI Security, a nonprofit firm, and signed by about 350 authorities in the industry: “Mitigating the possibility of extinction from A.I. should be a international precedence alongside other societal-scale risks, these kinds of as pandemics and nuclear war.”
Heidegger’s essay (admittedly not the simplest thing to read) addresses a distinct variety of extinction. The “extreme danger” we deal with is “the illusion… that almost everything male encounters exists only insofar as it is his construct.” In other text, the risk for guy in the technological dispensation is that he can not even think of God or nature (witness the transgender phenomenon) apart from as one thing that he has manufactured and projected. Heidegger does not stress so much about potentially lethal equipment, for the reason that, in actuality, “the real menace has presently stricken person in his essence—that it could be denied to him to enter into a far more unique revealing and that’s why to encounter the simply call of a more primal truth of the matter.”
Heidegger even so finds the rise of a “saving power” in the achievable recovery of this “more first revealing,” and he even has a advice that reminds me of the “little way” of St. Therese of Lisieux: “Here and now and in minimal issues, we may foster the preserving ability in its increase.” In pondering of how to foster it, I’m reminded of that most pre-technological and abnormal of contemporary points, silence (pdf). I intend to consider it.
Republished with gracious permission from the Wyoming Catholic School Weekly Bulletin.
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