Technology, Lewis and Tolkien

Dear friends,

Once again, many thanks, Manuel, for a thought provoking blog. I just reread this morning Lewis’s comment in POP about the capacity of what he calls “fixed” nature. (I would prefer to call it “stable” nature but won’t argue that now.) There is not a single technological development in our world which isn’t a discovery and use of the stable properties of the natural world. God put those there and God also made the human mind to discover and develop them. With that recognition, I part ways to an extent with both Lewis and Tolkien who seemed to think technology was inherently bad.

I also recall Lewis saying how quickly “thoughts of the divine” become “divine thoughts.” (Can’t remember the source for that one.) This is a temptation within all of us to slip into idolatry about most anything we think, say, or do.

With that as background, I identify with the second group you mention, Manuel, those who would choose some constraints on technology. Or the steering of technological development towards the small and beautiful.

I personally believe that our current technological abilities are equivalent to the development of the printing press. As such, they have an enormous democratizing influence. If one takes a close look at the actual data, the world has never been healthier or wealthier as a whole as it is in this age. This health and wealth are enjoyed by larger proportions of even the poorest countries than ever before.$chart-type=bubbles

As for “dehumanizing,” there are many things that dehumanize. Slavery and human trafficking, just to mention one. Old civilizations built on the backs of slaves were just as dehumanizing as our factories are. And if Lewis is right, nothing is as dehumanizing as the sinful nature of human beings, all destined to be “Unmen” if they reject the only remedy there is.


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