Monday, November 17, 2008

Technological axes of evil

“How is it conceivable that all our lauded technological progress--our very Civilization--is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal?” Albert Einstein.

Derrick Jensen agrees profoundly with the comparison Albert Einstein made between the horrific, destructive potential of humanity armed with technology and fortified by civilization. It is a shame that these two individuals did not have a chance to meet. I suppose Albert Einstein would have a great deal more to say today about civilization’s role in the current state of the global economy. Increased potency and effectiveness of oil extracting technologies led to massive booms in petroleum demands, which led to expedience towards the oil peak. The current global oil situation is a good example of our pathology towards increased demand armed with the “oil extraction axe”. We effectively diminished global non-renewable petroleum reserves while contributing climate altering CO2 gas to the atmosphere. 2008, 53 years after Einstein’s death, the United State’s is experiencing the backlash of the “technological axe” in many more respects. Einstein saw the damaging potential of technological advance during his lifetime, but why is it so hard for Americans to see it today? Besides the bucket-head, it might probably be because the average American’s IQ is 98, while Einstein’s was reportedly between 160 and 265 (and I doubt he could fit a bucket over his beautiful gray locks). The United States is not notorious for genius insight, so we are not likely to realize the faults of civilization until falters and falls.


SystemsThinker said...


I love the Einstein quote. I hadn't heard that particular one. I think the reasons most Americans aren't willing to recognize the costs of technological progress are not intellectual so much as emotional and tied into the personality structure. Ultimately it's an issue of culture.

There are people of average intellect all over the world who see the problems clearly. Many aren't barraged by marketing and propaganda touting the inevitable success of technological progress as we are. Waking up to these issues takes more than intelligence. It takes a transformation of worldview.

jordan said...

I agree, S.T. ..
a paradigm shift from neoclassic ethnocentric embedded implicit theories is what is necessary.