Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth
I grew up at a time in England where there were no computers, no cell phones, no social media. Television was black and white, and only two channels: no daytime programming. We read, roamed the neighborhood, played Charades and Monopoly. Boredom drove our imaginations: we made up games, wrote books, put on plays, and created unctuous bath salts from homestyle chemistry sets.
Having recently returned from presenting "Reclaiming the Wild Soul" at the Techno-Utopianism and Fate of the Earth Conference in New York City, I find myself nostalgic for a time when technology wasn't so dominant. I also find myself afraid.
From the dangers of nano-technologies, to the grandiosity of geo-engineering projects, to the insidiousness of GMOs, we are seeing signs of an expanding and extremely powerful technological matrix in which we are caught like flies in a web. But we can fight back.
Craig Holdredge, Co-founder, The Nature Institute, talked of "commanding presences": real food, real conversations, real stories of our heritage, making real things with our hands.
Aiden Enns, Founder, Editor, Geez Magazine, invited us to think of one technological hold out (his is flying), and then commit to it.
Stephanie Mills, Author, Epicurean Simplicity and Turning Away from Technology declared that rapt attention cannot be in two places at one time. What do you want to pay attention to? Can we learn to pay more attention to Earth and less to Facebook?
Abstraction is a side effect of technology, a forgetting of what really matters, what truly sustains us, what is really real. It's not that all technology is bad. It isn't. It's just that we seem to have stepped over a line into a kind of insanity...and a deep forgetting of who we really are: children, not of algorithms, but of Earth's rhythms.