Monday, November 12, 2007

Voluntary Servitude

Here's another quote from "On Being A Christian" by Hans Kung that I really wanted to share. I'm yearning to dialogue with somebody about it. In this section Kung is talking about the potential for us humans to transcend technological evolutive humanism:

"In both cases man--as individual and as society--remains incapable of mastering his world, because he tries to cope with everything except himself. As he seems to be gaining the whole world, he is threatened with the loss of his own soul: in routine, bustling activity, endless talk, in disorientation and futility. This has little to do with the wickedness of man or of particular individuals. It is the legal constraints of the technocratic society itself, as we have seen, which threaten to crush man's personal dignity, freedom, and responsibility."

This paragraph is so full of thought that I can only begin to touch the surface of what I think it means to me. First, when I read it, I think about the notion of even the possibility of transcending the prevalent thought or way of life in our society. To transcend is to "exist above and independent of" something. If I was to exist above and independent of this technological way of life/thinking, then clearly, it would only be acomplished by focusing on God. However, as the author points out, all the accomplishments of technology haven't helped us acheive this goal. Instead, technology has distracted us from focusing on the real project: ourselves.

How about you? Has Tivo/DRVs, iPods, cell phones, PCs and Macs helped you come closer to being the person you want to be? When I read the quote again and see "endless talk" I think of how I my cell phone has turned me into a prisoner. How did we ever survive a 25 minute drive without somebody being able to break the silence or interrupt the song I was lost in? When I look at the word "futility" I totally think of e-mail. At times I feel it is completely futile to ever get though everything in my in-box. Is what I really need another inspirational e-mail? Maybe true inspiration awaits not in a chain-letter, but in a lingering conversation while straddling the boundary of my and my neighbor's yards?

Proving Kung's point is the fact that I am blogging about this condition we find ourselves in. You are reading my thoughts on a computer! If Kung was wrong about this technocratic society, you and I might find ourselves discoursing about such matters over coffee and pie. As a substitute, we run to our Facebooks, Myspaces, and blogs in hallow attempts to make a human and truly meaningful connection. Meanwhile, many of the relationships that matter most are fractured or at least not all they could be. Crushed personal dignity, freedom, and responsibility indeed!

If you are looking for true insight, get off my blog and turn off your iPhone. Crack open your Bible or go for a hike with your spouse, children, or friend. Well, enough of this, I need to bustle off to the store.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Tony said...

Turn off my iPhone/iPod/Mac??? I can't, it is not in my appointment list in iCal.

Damn, Doah. You hit the nail on the head. I admit it, I am a slave to technology and what's sad is that I love it. How pathetic.

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