The biological and technological divide. Are we letting technology get ahead of us?
Human ingenuity has no bounds. It is now near a tipping point. From natural and biological harmony, we are moving towards technology-driven artificial living. Even human intelligence is being outsourced to technology. The inner workings of the body cannot be replaced by technology. But the mind is being surpassed. There is a biological and technological divide, and the mind is the bridge between the two.
The biological and technological divide
As the gap between the natural and technological aspects of life widens, there is a strain on the mind ‘s ability to bridge this gap. Consequently, it falls into the path of least resistance, which is letting technology play an active role in our lives, while the middle follows passively.
Technology offers many creature comforts, and it should be rightly acknowledged. However, technological sophistication is making it hard to enjoy the quiet comforts of simple living. Unplugging from the technological grid is a new fashion, and people pay a lot of money for such an experience. It helps us draw a temporary line as we get more in tune with the natural and biological aspects of life.
The first experience of life is through a biological marvel we call the human body. It is also the stage for the last experience of life. Technology fills the gap in between. If we do an honest assessment, we can judge for ourselves the degree of dependence on technology, and whether it is genuinely enhancing our lives.
Technology and the mind
Many use technology as a source of entertainment for the mind. The internet offers a plethora of information, insights, and ideas. Use of technology for the consumption of information helps keep the mind occupied. Without this distraction, we are forced to take a harder look at life and its meaning in the bigger picture. If access to technology is suddenly taken away, the mind flounders and becomes restless. The innate mechanisms that help us appropriately channel the mind’s energy are being lost.
Technology advances through miniaturization. The mind mirrors this by ‘shrinking the world’ and wrapping it around a piece of technology such as the smartphone. It is now the main window to the world. Even the senses get lopsided through the constant use of smartphones. With these devices, the main portal of the intake of information is the eyes. Consequently, other senses become dormant in this exchange.
Natural living and technology
A more natural way of living is engaging all of the senses and slowing down the speed of transit of information into the mind. Without technology, we are forced to use the body and pay more attention to its movements and sensations. Just as the body is being fed mass produced food, the mind is being supplied information generated daily on an industrial scale.
Like we organically farm our vegetables, we can also ‘organically farm’ our experiences by going back to the basics. This involves unplugging from technology for all but the essential things of life. For instance, instead of calling our neighbor, we can walk over and engage in a face to face conversation. On a dinner table, the eyes ‘eat’ off a smartphone’s screen while the mouth is fed absentmindedly. The basic joys of communal eating with close family and friends are being lost.
Bridging the divide
This divide, between the technological and biological aspects of living, can be dangerous in the long run. To remedy this, we will need to occupy the mind in other ways. The mind cannot be kept idle. The pent up energy seeks an outlet. It can be absorbed within through deeper understanding or expended through activities in the world. It is easier to achieve the latter. Once we master productively using the mind’s energy, we can then begin to teach ourselves how to absorb and utilize that same energy for the growth of inner understanding.
Instead of the mind being a useful tool in our hands, we are living for the mind’s happiness. The purpose of life, directly or indirectly, is moving towards keeping the mind peaceful and happy. We don’t need to turn to technology to keep the mind fulfilled and happy. Happiness is not a business or an electronic transaction.
Happiness is a byproduct of being whole and complete within ourselves. When no external crutches or supports are sought, we begin to stand on our own. The greatest joy comes when we accept ourselves as we are, and relying on technology as a crutch to bring us happiness is a lesser joy. This dependency makes the mind fall across the divide towards technology, without which, we feel incomplete.
Where does self-awareness fit in?
For all the pluses that technology brings into our lives, the missing piece that technology cannot provide is the ability to become aware. Awareness is a unique gift. It helps us stand apart from the world, the mind, technology, the movement of thoughts. This gives us a perspective like none other. This power of awareness is part of our being and is a crucial element that can help put the biological and technological aspects of living into the right perspective.
In many ways, technology is driven by the ability of the consumer to pay for goods, which in turn is influenced by individual desire. If there are no takers for a great piece of technology, it dies on a museum shelf. Through advertising directed towards our behavioral aspects that are linked to happiness, a bit of technology may become an essential addition to our daily lives.
Through self-awareness, we can conclude if dependence on technology is good or bad in the long run. Technology by itself is not inherently harmful, but reliance on it can be detrimental. Stepping away does not mean cutting physical ties with technology, but more importantly, working on our psychological addiction.
One way to look at technology such as a phone is to see it as a part of the mind and the body. Just as we don’t favor one limb over the other three, but use them in harmony with one another, is it possible to blend in technology into our lives to enhance the living experience. This will help ensure that which came first, which is the body, and the mind is the driver of the use of technology and not the other way around.