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Is technology helping society progress? Perhaps we need to start by asking a different question. What is progress?

PROGRESS // WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY

: movement forward or toward a place
: the process of improving or developing something over a period of time

When we think about enrolling our children in school, my wife and I look at it like this.

“Our desire for our children is that they learn to be loving, peaceful humans with the passion and ability to thrive in harmony with the planet and humanity. For us, this is the purpose of education.”

We are very deliberate about asking, “what is intended the purpose of our traditional education systems, and is it in line with our educational aspirations for our children?”

I recently wrote a blog about our family’s goals for educating our children, We Will Teach Them To Love.

TECHNOLOGY // WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY

: the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve problems
: a machine, piece of equipment, method, etc., that is created by technology

For simplicity, let’s just say technology involves manmade machines, equipment and platforms for communication (social networks, email, phones, computers, etc.).

Society tends to make the assumption that our technological advancements automatically imply “progress”. But progress reflects the status of movement towards a goal, and just like with our education, I think we need to be clearer about what that goal actually is.

What do we consider to be progress?

In the United States, “the pursuit of happiness” has been a popular notion since 1776. I believe “happiness” is an important goal, as long as we agree that true happiness cannot come at the expense of others.

Today, we use technology to build weapons that kill more people more rapidly, and with very little human interaction on the trigger. Our cell phone, email and social network habits have certainly connected us from a logistical standpoint, but are they really connecting us on a deeper, human level?

This reminds me of a brilliant video from one of my favorite spoken word artists, PRINCE AE.

We need to be clear about what “progress” really looks like for society.

I believe technology has the ability to deepen our human connection and further our understanding of the vast and awe inspiring universe we live in. But we must collectively determine that as the goal and move deliberately towards it.

This means we must resist any gravitational pull that would allow technology to further disconnect us from humans, nature and the divine. Technology only benefits society when we collectively resolve that the most advantageous use of technology is to further our pursuit of self actualization, interdependence, happiness, equality, peace and love.

Otherwise, we’d be better off to retreat back to the stone ages and reanalyze our goals as a society.

I think we’re hanging in the balance right now. But we have a role in all of this, individually and collectively. We can choose to embrace this responsibility on a personal level and amplify it through our lives… and probably our social networks.

Everything from love to the Internet carries the yin and yang of possibilities. As much as they improve our life, they have equal power to destroy it. It is up to us to determine how these elements are used, and what the purpose of their use will be.

I’m sure you can think of many ways that technology has made us a more fearful and divided society. And you can likely think of as many ways that it’s deepened and improved our human experience.

Let us be clear about what progress means to humanity. We are interconnected. Our actions affect the greater whole. And each of us has the ability to contribute to a collective purpose, set of standards and system of agreements.

The way you use technology personally and professionally contributes to the collective agreement that determines the purpose and goals of our technological progress. It’s our choice to use it to bring us closer together and into alignment with our planet.

Here’s a great example from JASON SILVA of technology being used to bring awe, beauty, discovery and understanding into our lives.

Here are a few questions to ponder. Please feel free to leave your comments!

  • What does “technological progress” mean to you?
  • Does the technology you use bring you closer to humanity and more in line with nature?
  • How can you more deliberately contribute to the global perspective on the purpose for technology?
  • How can you use technology to deepen the human experience?

2 Comments

  1. Ashley Logsdon on March 14, 2016 at 3:57 PM

    Beautiful post and I loved the videos!
    Answers to the questions….

    What does “technological progress” mean to you?
    I think you lay it out eloquently here. I could so argue for “technological progress” being both a positive and a negative. I’d like to say we have more “humanity awakenings” and technology can be a tool for that awakening…..but it can just as easily be what “deadens” your life instead. With technology and the overload of information, we have no excuse to stay ignorant or stagnant in our lives. Yet it’s only progress if it moves us toward something greater – within ourselves and beyond. If not, it’s simply technology that takes us away from our reality and allows us to become complacent.

    Does the technology you use bring you closer to humanity and more in line with nature?
    It does when I watch a documentary, see inspirational videos, and open my eyes to life outside my own bubble. But to really connect with nature, I need to put down all technology, take off my shoes, and feel my bare feet in the earth around me.

    How can you more deliberately contribute to the global perspective on the purpose for technology?
    BE the example. Be present. Set the precedent with my own children that when they talk, my eyes are looking at them, not a computer screen. No cell phones at the table. Times of completely unplugged engagement with people. And when technology is a part of my life, educating myself and others by making that time intentional, focused, and worthwhile.

    How can you use technology to deepen the human experience?
    To draw people in, reach an audience larger than what I physically can speak to at once. To make advancements on how people of all abilities survive (like prosthetics, research, advances in our understanding of disabilities, mental and physical illness, etc) and to greater understand how we are all interconnected at the core.

    Great questions!

    • Jared Angaza on March 14, 2016 at 4:14 PM

      Great comments Ashley! I’d say you and your family are definitely using technology in a way the helps society actually progress. And I mean growing more into interdependence, closer to nature, infusing more awe, etc. Just as technology SHOULD be used for. Like a knife, it can be used for good or bad. Life or destruction. I believe the world needs to be more deliberate about what we use technology for, and you are certainly an example of someone that is deliberately using it to elevate the human experience through love, relationship and interconnectedness. Yes!

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