Chapter 8: A More Human Technology
There was just one failure of electricity in America. For three days people were in such a panic, because the elevators were not working and to go by the stairs in a high-rise building - perhaps one hundred stories, one hundred and twenty stories - just coming down and going up was enough to finish anybody. People became aware for the first time, in those three days in New York that now there is no possibility of dropping technology.
I have another alternative. It is not the fault of modern technology; the fault is that we have not been very clear what we want from modern technology and what we don’t want. The scientist has been discovering almost in a blind way, and whatever he discovers we start using - without thinking of the aftereffects.
Going back is impossible and idiotic, the only way is forward. We need a better technology - better than modern technology, which can avoid plastic garbage and disturbance in the ecology. The scientist has to be very alert that whatever he is doing should become an intrinsic part of the organic whole; technology should not go against the whole. And it is possible, because technology does not lead you somewhere in particular; it is you who go on discovering things in a blind way.
Now that it is clear that whatever we have discovered up to now, much of it is a disturbance in the harmony - is finally going to destroy life on the earth - still, scientists go on piling up nuclear weapons. They don’t have the guts to say to the politicians, “It is enough. We are not slaves. We cannot create anything that is going to destroy life.”
All the scientists of the world have to come to a consensus: they have to make a world academy of sciences, which decides what should be discovered and what should not be discovered. If something wrong is discovered, it should be undiscovered immediately.
We need a superior technology, a more enlightened technology. There, I part from Mahatma Gandhi, who goes backwards - where there is nothing but death. I go forwards. Technology is in our hands; we are not in the hands of technology. We can drop all those parts which are dangerous, poisonous, and we can discover substitutes which enhance the ecology, which enhance the life of man, which enhance his outer and inner richness and bring a balance into the world.
But I don’t see anybody in the whole world preaching for a more sophisticated, more enlightened technology. Sometimes I wonder: millions of people, thousands of great scientists - are they all blind? Can’t they see what they are doing is cutting their own roots?
And if technology can manage to do miracles - it has managed on the path of destructiveness, it can also manage miracles on the path of creativeness. All that has been discovered, if it is a disturbance to nature, should be dropped. But I don’t see that electricity is a danger to nature; I don’t see that railway lines or airplanes are disturbing the ecology; I don’t see that innocent telegrams, post offices, have to be destroyed. That will be moving to the other extreme.