TECHNOLOGY & NATURE — NO INHERENT CONFLICT

There is a tendency to argue that technological advances are not 'natural' which, of course implies that human activity lies outsides the boundaries of what is natural.

This argument is often used when it comes to medical treatments.  Patients may seek 'natural' or 'holistic' treatments in distinction to those derived from technological advances or 'big pharma'.

I contend that on a fundamental metaphysical level, everything that man does is 'natural'. 

 This is based on the obvious fact that we are natural beings who have evolved on this particular planet according to the laws of nature.  This does not argue one way or another about the spiritual nature of mankind.  We are here by virtue of natural processes.  Therefore, all our actions, good, bad, indifferent are natural.

The attitude of some individuals to avoid the products of technological advancement seems ridiculous.  Is the ability to draw blood, preserve it and deliver it to another human being in need not natural?  Of course it is.  Are pacemakers natural? Is surgery for a ruptured appendix, a malignant tumor, or coronary artery bypass not natural?  Absolutely!  They are products of human scientific knowledge, technology and advancement.  Therefore they are natural.

The philosophical basis of this attitude may have originated in Descartes' notion of duality.  Mankind was seen as having a spiritual element, the mind, while nature was devoid of spiritual value.  A consequence of such thinking often led to horrific abuse of animals as well as regarding the earth itself as a lifeless laboratory for human endeavor.

Of course this does not justify human behavior as 'good' or 'bad' for ourselves or the rest of the planet. Technology is inherently without moral context.  It is how it is used that brings these questions to the forefront.  That is a different though valuable discussion.

 Because of our position we are capable of utterly defacing  and destroying our natural home.  Our burden, therefore, is to consciously respect and defend it.

Perhaps by being aware that we are inherently a part of the natural order, we will embrace our role as its protector/defender  and understand that when we senselessly abuse or destroy it, we are doing so to ourselves as well. Yet likewise embrace the accomplishments of technology to save and preserve life as well as offer new opportunities for continual evolution.

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