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 23 2012: Culture changes very slowly even in response to laws..witness the lingering resentment in the deep south to civil rights legislation or lingering corporate resentment of fair wage legislation, So when culture is slow to change even to adapt the law of the land, we should not be surprised when a new , even transformational technology or innovation,n doesn't permeate culture in depth or allow the full realization of its potential.

    If the purpose is to change culture ( rather than just sell product or in the ca of laws to force compliance through enforcement actions), then the cultural acceptance has to be an intentional focus at the outset (which raises its own set of questions and issues.)

    Most modern constitutions do not seek or embrace the idea of cultural homogeneity even though they do reflect a new consensus on certain aspects of shared community and shared national values. The engineering of a massive cultural spiritual transformational shift is certainly beyond government and apparently beyond existing religious institutions.

    As a contemplative I hear this idea of massive dynamic shift often expressed . Sometimes as the next stage of evolution of humanity, of human kind and perhaps there is some evidence here and here that this is happening but I don't really see that or expect that.

    Any individual can decide to only purchase what is needed..what is durable, practical, useful, essential..to use all resources wisely ( e.g. ,not ever buy bottled water ever again. boycottingg genetically engineered food products) to be personally responsible for what we rely on institutions to do ( teach our children, care for our elderly, deal with ) and enough of us do that as individuals we will change what is produced and how it is disrtibuted and at hat proint the cultural shift will have been effected. .

    We bring that shift about by making wise choices one by one not by advocating for or waiting for a shift.

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