by Vivian Titular
“Harmonization is an integral part of the cosmic evolutionary process. It is one of the cosmic laws and principles.”
“It is when man deviates from this inherent law and principle of the Cosmos that disharmony and disorder happen.”
“We are not just observers; we are participators in this world.”
These are the three thoughts that struck me when we had our discussions in class. Truly, technology and ecology are significant disciplines in understanding cosmic harmony and order. This paper aims to discuss the critical relevant areas and concerns pertaining man in the universe and to assert that contemporary man must evolve an “ecological conscience” to guide his efforts in saving our home – Earth.
“According to some materialists, man is composed of nothing more than about a dollar’s worth of chemicals. He is on earth but briefly, and is merely a higher form of animal – no more, no less. However, according to conventional religion, man is the result of God’s creation, a spiritual element encased in a mortal body, which resembles the body of some animals, especially apes but a separate, higher entity created especially by God to be a special species by itself.” These are two extreme beliefs about man and as I experience being human, I believe that we are not just material beings like other creatures. According to Salgado in his book Social Philosophy, “Man is gifted with intelligence and thus cannot be on par with the rest of the universe which is material, unknowing and ignorant of what God and nature have destined to each one. Man sees the world, accepts it, and assigns to each thing the meaningful it has in cosmic vision.” Our intellect had made it possible to the creation of technology whereby we took much of our dependence to many things we would like more to create and invent.
We live in a culture that seems to assume that all of our problems can and must be solved with technology. It is easy to see how we came to this conclusion. Ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution, we have created one technological marvel after another. Technologies have increased our productivity, reshaped our world, and improved our quality of life. Balancing ecology and technology. https://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/nwl/2001/2001-2-leoletter/director.htm )
The reality of the situation, however, has come to evolve even more with man’s desire to conquer the world with all these technologies. The less technology we have the lesser in contact with the world whether in personal, social and economic we could get. Technology isn’t bad because it means a lot to us. All worldly activities are designed for the service and good of mankind but it has caused worry for most of us that most of man’s creations have less respect for the natural order of things. Man must submit to the demands of the cosmic laws and principles and must not intervene carelessly with the work of Nature. Let us say for example, man must “fit” his “technology” with “ecology”.
Another cause for worry is the depletion of the substance necessary to support life on Earth which is becoming a global concern. This thought is based on the assumed truth that man’s survival is interrelated with that of his environment.
Our most pressing external problem today is global warming. Summer with heavy rains? This year is not the usual summer that we experience every year. Baguio’s coldest temperature was 6.3⁰C last January of 1963 and today, its temperature is becoming hot. My visit to Baguio this summer has led me to dismay and less enjoyable tour because of the heavy rains. It was raining but not cold enough to put on a jacket and a bonnet to really make me feel that I am in Baguio. La Trinidad (Strawberry Farm) is a tourist spot but sadly, a part of the farm was sold to industrialists who would convert such area to an industrial cite (a shopping mall maybe).
This intractable problem has coincided with man’s ignorance of distinct meaning of ecology which is literally the study of the interrelation of organisms in an environment and of the process linking organism and place. Understanding environment includes all the external forces or conditions – climatic, chemical and biological – acting on in an organism or community of organisms.
“Environment is a “process”, called ecosystem. The global ecosystem is the closed web of climatic, chemical and biological processes created by living things, maintained by living things, and through the marvellous reciprocities of biological and geochemical evolution, uniquely essential to the support of living things.” (Barry Commoner, “The Ecological facts of Life”, Ecological Conscience, p.3)
Ironically, this has a little less interest in man because of his belief that he is the end of all earthly things and activities – that technologies, industrialization, scientific progress and civilization itself are fruits of his labour. I believe that there is a danger in uncontrolled development of technology in the ecosystem. A bigger percentage of farm lands turned into industrial parks and cites is a visible threat to man’s natural environment which alienates him from his natural relations to everything around him.
Progress in a finite ecosystem cannot mean the absolute ascendancy of one species. Progress must mean the achieving of a creative symbiosis within the Home Place, where sympathy and care are extended by the dominant species to the rest of creation. To transcend traditional preoccupations with our own kind, preparing to appreciate the Ecosphere with all that is in it, requires an understanding of T and how we have used it both to exploit and to distance ourselves from Mother Earth. (Technology and Ecology. https://www.ecospherics.net/pages/RoTechEcol.html)
The industrial age, with its great faith that humankind could master all through machinery, saw an about-face in the relationship between man and the environment. Technology became a tool to overcome and to exploit the Earth, rather than simply a means to better live on it. Pollution was not merely accepted, it was pointed to with pride as a visible sign of great progress--the smell of money. It was only realized very late in this period that no life could survive on a poisoned planet. (<b>Science, Technology, and Religion in the Twentieth Century</b>. https://www.arjay.bc.ca/EthTech/Text/Ch11/Ch11.6.html)
Man has limitless power to invent and re-create advances in technology. Recently, it has been proven that there are risks in super-tiny technology called nanotechnology.
It is a science that deals with materials so small that they are 10,000 times smaller than the width of human hair. Technology on this level can revolutionize industries and human life through the radical changes it can make on properties of materials such as food, medicine, consumer products and construction materials.
For example, a man-made molecule composed of 60 carbon atoms called “buckyballs”, has been created that can be used as chemical sensors or fuels. But when inhaled, it can be toxic because they can damage DNA of organisms. When aquarium fishes such as bass were exposed to it, scientists in Duke University found that it can damage the brain of the fish. (World Watch, Theosophical Digest No.77, p.97-98)
In view of the vast challenges of the twenty first century what we need to do is to find answers to the following:
What is the role of mankind in the Universe, is it central or peripheral? Are we spectators or participants? If the latter, have we been involved in determining not only the structure and evolution of the Universe, but cosmogony as well? (Cosmic Perspective, Man in the Universe, p.133)
We can give justice to these questions by altering to our senses a kind of “ecological man” we need to become - having an “ecological conscience” which made him aware of his true place as a dependent member of the ecosystem. Having this altered in man’s consciousness, he can find proper place for technology in ecological perspective.
This is not at all a unique and ever new proposition that we need to claim the obligation to rightfully use our natural resource and save our planet – Earth from destruction. This is a dictate of conscience and common sense in the context of justice. Technology and industrial advances have totally transformed the face of the Earth and we need to have such “ecological conscience” to be able to balance modern technology and advances in natural sciences with ecological concerns.