Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mission Possible

A friend sent a link to this Daniel Pinchbeck article, Mission Possible, after a long conversation about mainstream media and how it is being affected by the blogosphere. Pinchbeck calls for us to "...deepen our commitment to transformation..." rather than flinch away from the disaster looming in our future. But the "transformation" he calls for is a spiritual one, not a technological one. Indeed Pinchbeck seems to have greater faith in the possibility that mainstream media can be used to change the way people think and live on this planet, then that technology can help correct or mediate the imbalances that we have created on our planet.

I found this disturbing for a number of reasons. First, and perhaps most importantly, I don't believe that we as a species have enough time left to convince people to think and live differently. There are too many of us, we are too dependent upon destructive technologies just to eat every day (much less everything else we need and want to do), and the underlying compulsion to consume is too powerful. Thus I believe that for us to save ourselves, we have to invest in and use technology to fix our world.

But I also found it to be paradoxical that Pinchbeck is arguing that using one of the tools that humans have invented (mass media) can be a successful strategy to correcting the worlds problems while using other tools (science, technology) will fail. I tracked Pinchbeck down to ask him about this. As a side note, shame on the Seattle Conscious Choice website for not making this easier. But I did find an email address by simply googling him.

Pinchbeck writes back "Every potent new technology has unleashed a deeper level of damage. The law of unintended consequences: biotech now kills the honeybees, what will nanotech destroy?"

Well, the latest news out (LA Times article) suggests that it is actually a fungus affecting bees, not biotech. And we wouldn't know this without science, much less have the ability to find a way of solving the problem.

Let's face facts -- we have already passed a key tipping point. Human beings now have the responsibility to manage the ecosystem, it is no longer self managing in a way that will sustain the health and well being of our species. We need more technology and more management of the ecosystem, not less. Just arguing that we should all become earth friendly in the way we live will not pull us back from disaster that is now brewing in our future.