Technical progress and spiritual development
Technical progress and spiritual development
Human beings are using technological progress to benefit their greed, with the risk of destroying the very basis of their existence on earth. This is why technological progress is not truly progress. Of course it is really quite something to be able to send craft into space and to other planets. But at the end of the day, what is the purpose of all this? To exploit the resources and cause the same damage as here on earth? To fight in space? To go and cause havoc all over the universe? There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to explore the cosmos, but not before having found the right attitude to adopt here on earth. Human beings respect nothing. They think they are the masters of the universe. They are prepared to upset everything to satisfy their curiosity and their cupidity. Well, they have to be aware that one day they will have to pay dearly for this lack of respect and this violence.
People are led to believe that their happiness depends on scientific and technical progress and also on comfort. In whatever domain, they are continually bombarded with publicity; every effort is made to prevent them from making contact with other regions, other entities (the only ones that could bring them the light, love and peace they need). The spiritual world has been so rejected, scorned and held up to ridicule that very few beings feel the urge to search in this world for the necessary elements of their survival. Most people are dying of suffocation and intoxication. For their own good, they must search more and more for a contact with this subtle world so that their soul and spirit can breathe and find nourishment. When we meditate we do not touch anything material; it seems like "emptiness". But actually it is in this "emptiness" that the soul and spirit blossom and find fulfillment.
Technological progress has given humankind great possibilities. This is a good thing, but all these new facilities and opportunities lead them to expect everything from outside and to become heedless, thoughtless, and fickle. We can neglect our health: there are doctors, surgeons, dentists, chemists, etc. We can waste paper, ruin appliances, break objects, soil and tear our clothes, throw away food: there is plenty more of everything in the shops.
This is how care and attention, vigilance, and discernment gradually wane. Why develop these qualities when there are so many people and products available to repair the damage we have done? Scientists, researchers, technicians are all there to help people with their inventions. In reality, however, they help the manufacturers get richer, and make the people increasingly weak and dependent. I am not saying we should put a halt to technological progress, but we must also continue to work in the inner domain in order to cultivate care and attention, prudence, and selfcontrol.
How often do you meet people who, without being forced by circumstances, decide to work? It is an innate tendency of human beings to avoid effort and to unload their tasks onto others, be they human beings, animals, or machines. Today, of course, with our technical progress, they especially look to machines to do their work. As a result, some of their faculties become dulled, their will in particular. Those who want to become equal to every situation must make a habit of striving. Even if these days we can acquire many things without effort, we must resist succumbing to this climate of ease. Otherwise, what will be the result? We will be outwardly fulfilled, and that is all. Inwardly, we will have nothing; we will be lost. It is their efforts which keep human beings on their feet and full of life.
It does not take much to provide for one's material life, and yet human beings are so busy creating new needs for themselves that they no longer have any time to devote to their spiritual lives. As a result, their material comfort gradually improves, but their psychic and moral states deteriorate. Everywhere we see mental problems and criminal behaviour. Materially, we in the West have never been so well off, but in the deepest sense, this ease does not enhance peoples' serenity. After the first moments of satisfaction, a new washing machine, a new car, or a new house will not respond to the needs of their heart and soul. There is no doubt that people are conscious of this decline in society, because they spend their time in meetings talking about changing their lives. But all the changes they discuss concern only the material realm. Who considers holding meetings to help people live the divine life? That is why, even if business gets better and better, human beings are beginning to collapse. Is it reasonable to sacrifice people to business?
Everywhere in the world people complain that technical progress generates pollution: toxic products pollute everything (the earth, the water, the air) and plants, fish, birds and human beings are threatened more and more every day. Remedies are hard to find, and even if they were found, they would touch only the exterior side of things, the physical plane, and that is insufficient. For toxic products, exhaust gases, and smoke are everywhere in the psychic world as well, and they are asphyxiating mankind. Nowadays there are many sick people, but it is not only due to the pollution of air, water and food. No! If the psychic atmosphere were not so polluted, human beings would be able to neutralize all external poisons. Evil lives first within us. When human beings live in harmony, the forces they possess inside react and reject impurities, even those present in the physical world, and in this way the body manages to defend itself. We are vulnerable first on the psychic plane, and gradually this weakness spreads to the physical body.
Knowledge is growing in all fields and we meet an ever-increasing number of educated and cultivated people. This poses the question, however, as to why, despite all this progress, humankind is not improving. On the contrary even, the number of delinquents, criminals and mentally ill is growing. The answer is in fact very simple, because despite being educated, people continue to live in the same disorderly, dishonest and senseless way as the uneducated, or worse even because their learning has given them a greater capability to do so. The knowledge they accumulate remains theoretical since they do not think that they could draw lessons from it to improve their inner life. This is why the only faculty that human beings truly lack is that of using their knowledge to transform themselves, to spiritualize, enlighten their inner being. Educated people abound, all there is a shortage of is people who have decided to work on themselves.
Establish an ideal of perfection in your head. But make sure the sole aim of this desire to perfect yourself is not merely for your own evolution; it must also be useful, beneficial for the world as a whole. This is how things should progress from now on. Up until now all spiritual teachings have more or less led human beings along the path of individual salvation: knowledge, powers, revelations, spiritual people acquired these benefits solely for their own good. This is why they remained isolated, hidden in some cave or monastery in order to be left undisturbed by the goings-on of the outside world. This philosophy has since become outmoded.
The new philosophy teaches the quest for personal perfection, but without cutting yourself off from others. Quite to the contrary in fact: you should accept inconvenience, make sacrifices, suffer even, but be useful. To perfect yourself in order to be useful to the collectivity, this is true perfection.
In the physical realm, human beings have made gigantic achievements: we cannot help but see how scientific and technical progress has transformed life. But this is not enough, and humanity is now called upon to realise achievements that are still more important, more vital for them, by means of the faculties of the spirit. Through meditation and prayer, they must learn to make a relationship with the world of the spirit, so that the light, love, and power of the spirit descends upon the earth, within them, and upon those beings around them. Scientific and technical progress has limits, and even presents dangers. If all these discoveries are not made to serve a higher vision of things, humanity will be overwhelmed and crushed by them. Scientific and technical achievements are not sufficient to transform life. It is by means of the spirit that life will be truly transformed, because peace, freedom, and brotherhood are realisations of the spirit.
Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov