Technology and Spirituality

Paradoxical as it may seem, is the rapid unfolding of technological "wizardry" a route to spirituality?

Yes and no. Technology is double-edged: it separates and alienates us from our own being while at the same time having the potential to connect us to our deeper potential. Take cell-phones, for example; they connect us to loved ones, important particularly during emergencies and health care crises, yet they also take us out-of-body: witness people on the street, energetically and visually hooked to their gadgetry, or gazing around with vacant eyes because they are literally "not there," not present.

I was reading in Arthur C. Clarke's book 3001: The Final Odyssey about the advent of informational implants in people's palms so that when they great each other (by shaking hands or raising the palm) there will be an exchange of digital (pardon the pun) information.

Clarke conceived this as science fiction and then discovered that a group at MIT is already developing the technology. Curiously, this kind of energetic transmission is the basis for much of energy healing.

What happens in a blessing--are loving, positive energies transmitted through the ethers toward someone else's auric field? Some scientists scoff at this as "New Age" fantasy, yet the NIH has developed a "frontier medicine" program to evaluate modalities such as Reiki, Polarity Therapy, Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, and other forms of energy healing. Who knows whether the kind of scientific advances that the MIT group is working on will bring to life the kind of developments we already posit in energy healing?

At the very least, these avenues of technological and scientific inquiry furnish a metaphor for consciousness--they suggest that consciousness, like the Internet, is non-local! Which means consciousness is not limited by time and space; information can transcend physical boundaries and reach into spaces previously considered private. This is both liberating and frightening. (I have more thoughts about this developed in Beyond Complementary Medicine and Future Medicine). The non-locality of information will grow increasingly obvious as cellphones grow tinier, moving into wristwatches, and eventually becoming implanted in people's ears. (Wired tells me this is coming soon.) The human cyborg will become more of a reality (it already is, with email making silicon chips effective extensions of consciousness), further extending the metaphor of one consciousness.

Indian sacred scriptures contain the notion of Satchidanada: Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss. To paraphrase St. Paul, if we perpetuate existence through mechanical devices, and extend consciousness through silicon chips, but have not bliss (compassion and love), then what have we become?

The key to our "salvation" is not losing ourselves in the process--but what this means needs to be further contemplated, as it implicates our larger view of what it means to have the three etymologically related concepts of "health," "wholenes" and "holiness."