Monday, December 30, 2013

Faith in Technology

Nikolai Berdyaev, 1932:
For the contemporary European all faith has weakened. He is more free from optimistic illusions than the man of the XIX Century, set facing the bare, unadorned and severe realities. But in one regard modern man is optimistic and filled with faith, and this is his idol, to which everyone offers sacrifice. We herein come nigh to a very important moment in the spiritual condition of the contemporary world. Modern man believes in the might of technology, of the machine, and sometimes it would seem, that this is the one thing, in which he still believes.

And there seems to be a very serious basis for his optimism in this regard. The dizzying successes of technology in our epoch is a genuine marvel of the sinful natural world. Man is shaken and crushed by the might of technology, making all his life topsy-turvy. Man himself has created it, it is the product of his genius, of his reason, of his inventiveness, it is a child of the human spirit. Man has succeeded in unlocking secret powers of nature and using them for his own ends, of introducing a teleological principle into the activity of mechanical-physical-chemical powers.

But to master the results of his work man has not succeeded. Technology has come to seem more powerful than man himself, it subjugates him to itself. Technology is the sole sphere of the optimistic faith of man, his greatest achievement. But it brings man, however, much grief and disappointment, it enslaves man, it weakens his spiritualness, it threatens him with ruin.

No comments: