By using modern technology, I feel we are hurting this vibrating, juicy earth with the dead garbage of plastic, radioactivity, bad air and so on.
Please would you comment.
It is one of the most complicated questions…. It is true that, “By using modern technology we are hurting this vibrating, juicy earth with the dead garbage of plastic, radioactivity, bad air and so on.”
This question has two possible answers. One is that of Mahatma Gandhi: “Go back…to the point where all modern technology is dropped” – which superficially looks right. If modern technology is creating an ecological crisis on the earth, disturbing the balance of nature, then it is a very simplistic solution to drop modern technology and go back.
But you have to understand that in Gautam Buddha’s time, just twenty-five centuries ago, this country only had twenty million people. The earth was enough to support them. Today, this country alone has nine hundred million people. If you want to go back to the days of Gautam Buddha, you will have to kill or allow to die such a large part of the population. And when only twenty million people are saved, and the remainder of the nine hundred million people are lying dead all around you – do you think those twenty million will be able to live either?
And the population goes on increasing…. By the end of this century, the population of India may have increased by half again. That means it would be one billion, three-hundred million people – from nearly nine-hundred to thirteen-hundred million people.
That is why I have been disagreeing with Mahatma Gandhi on every point. He talks about nonviolence – but this is not nonviolence; nothing can be more violent a step than this. No war has destroyed so many people as will be destroyed without any war. And it is impossible to live amongst dead bodies piled all around you. There will be nobody to take them to the funeral or to take them to the graveyard. So many people dying at such a rate is going to kill the remaining twenty million people too; their rotting bodies will create thousands of diseases, infections.
Mahatma Gandhi used to think that we should stop technology at the point where the spinning wheel was invented. The spinning wheel was invented somewhere around ten thousand years ago or even earlier. The people were so few and the earth was so big…the earth was giving so much that those people could not even absorb it all; most of it was going to waste.
So this is one solution, which came to Mahatma Gandhi from Leo Tolstoy – he was also against modern technology. But I cannot support it, because it means no railway trains, no hospitals, no surgery, no medicine, no post offices, no telegraphs, no telegrams, no telexes, no electricity; and all these have become part of your life. You cannot conceive of yourself without electricity!