TED Conversations

Stefan H. Farr


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Debate: Our culture isn't adapting to our rapidly progressing technology.

There is a lot of talk about the current economic crises. Projections, promises or just plain old confusion, everybody seems to have an opinion on when and how it will get resolved or on the contrary how it will not resolve, but rather bring about the end of us.

Personally, I believe that it "can" resolve, but not by traditional economic measures, because the cause of it is not purely economic in nature. I believe, that this crises stems from a profound conflict brought about by the increasing incompatibility of our cultural, social and economic values with the ever more advanced technological progress that we are accumulating. Our inability to culturally adapt to this rapid technological progress is like a dead weight that impedes our metamorphosis as a species altogether.

Consequently, I believe that the next giant leap in our evolution must be a cultural / spiritual / intellectual / social one and not a technological one. Technologically we are way beyond what we can culturally accommodate and so any more progress in this domain will only deepen the conflict rather than resolve it.

Thank you!


Closing Statement from Stefan H. Farr

It's been a pleasure reading your comments. Thank you very much everybody for the excellent insight.

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  • Oct 15 2012: I am intrigued by the progress of this debate. It occurs to me particularly with regards Charles's comments and Mats initiative, how and who is to decide what "makes peoples lives better" and which people are we talking about?. There is no doubt that capitalism has made a few peoples lives very much easier and filled with pleasant distractions ( I would question if they are happier or more fulfilled than our ancestral peasants working on the land but that is an opinion). It has also made very many people lives poorer and less free than many apparently less " progressive" economic models.
    How then folks, are we to measure the well being of the whole worlds population ? I suggest to you that capitalism and the power it gives to a few is now of a global nature, and governments on the whole way behind the curve on the issue of cultural and technological development and often quite ignorant as to the behaviour of the majority. Culture I believe to be as much if not more about what people do, rather than what people think. ( the two may often be well removed, we mostly do what is acceptable to others around us. We can think what we choose (at least up until this moment we can). History is a harsh judge of those arrogant enough to believe they knew what was good for the world. Well we have the technology , perhaps we should first ask the world what would make you happy, or perhaps at least what would make people less unhappy? A big question. I am not even sure I can answer it myself!

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