By Laurel Elders
Technology. Technology! Technology!!
Wow. Over centuries, humans have invented and implemented technologies to advance our comfort and safety. Fast-forward to today. Our inventions have surpassed many of our wildest dreams.
But is it true advancement if we are shooting ourselves in the foot with new tech? Each year, we hear of another invention that just created five more problems. Then, we have to come up with five more solutions. Then, we deal with overly complex systems that cause more stress.
The simplest example of this can be witnessed in the women's bathrooms in US airports and big box companies. Someone created an auto-flush toilet. So when you sit down, it flushes. If you move, it flushes. When you stand back up, it flushes. This invention is such a waste of water and energy. Not to mention, it is truly annoying to boot.
One extreme form of this has shown up in our food. Decades ago, I was watching the national news. They polled Americans to see if they were okay with introducing genetically modified foods into their diet. 97% said no. The newscasters were floored. They said that typically, they see results like a 40/60 split or even closer to 50/50, but they had never seen so much consensus in all their years of polling.
When the company responsible for spearheading "GMO," genetically modified organisms, got wind of this, they hid what they were doing and lobbied and won. GMOs do not have to be labeled.
I had an opportunity to speak to a college student studying GMOs and planning to enter the field. He said it is not genetic engineering that is so bad. It is the lack of ethics from the money-hungry companies that want their way, even at the expense of others. For example, you buy that item if they took a gene from a shellfish or mushroom that increases the shelf-life of whatever they splice it with. You think you are buying... let's say, a typical apple because the apple isn't labeled. If you happen to be allergic to shellfish and they gene spliced it with shellfish without transparency, you would eat the apple. All of a sudden, you react as if you've eaten shellfish.
They also genetically modified plants to resist RoundUp. So, a plant that would usually die could now withstand loads of RoundUp. This created three new massive problems:
We. Can. Do. Better.
I reckon we've cultivated a society addicted to advancement, with an equal lack of wisdom around what true advancement should look like. After all, wouldn't true advancement mean we get to a finish line without shooting ourselves in the foot?
We live in a world where we've allowed our technological addictions to grow faster than our collective emotional intelligence. When you live in a world that values linear progress over perspicacity, we accidentally limit the potential for real, authentic advancement.
Consider this. The first scientists had a thirst for truth. The heart of the original scientists sought to discover the truth of what made up reality and how we could better understand that reality.
Much of science now is bought out by a company that aims to make more money. Any incidental truths of how the invention might impact anything beyond the bottom line are often thrown out the window in the name of progress.
Yet, it doesn't have to be this way.
This linear thinking has led to limited thinking. Instead of companies asking, "What new tech can we invent to make more money?" they could ask, "What can we invent to make more money that will also leave a positive impact?" The bigger question lends to bigger success. Why are we settling for inventions that cause harm? Humans are definitely intelligent enough to create solutions that lend to success in ALL areas.
The other consequence of the addiction to advancement is that instead of enjoying the fruits of invention, we envelop this "it is never enough" mentality.
"Never enough" is a fast track to imbalance. Unfortunately, being that the human race has a global overpopulation, we now leave a large-scale impact and can do so rapidly. The good news is that with an Integratively Intelligent philosophy spearheading our technological advancement, we can use large-scale impact to rapidly reverse negative impact.
When companies are driven by the pinnacles of true success (success in all areas), they will outshine other companies that don't care and are solely focused on monetary gain.
Technology. Invention. Innovation. None of these are good or bad, right or wrong. It is how we relate to progress that needs to shift for the better.
What common denominator is keeping us stuck in the linear limited obsession?
Ignore-ance: Ignoring any impact before inventing leads to ignorance. Ignoring can also come from arrogance or a lack of caring. Why would someone who owns three houses care about the environment when they can sleep at night on the softest pillows and get a massage the next day?
Ignoring also is fuel to obsession. Obsessing provides us with tunnel vision. The upside is we hyper-focus and can accomplish the linear task at hand. Consequently, we become blind to how we impact the strands of interconnection that exist all around us.
A true sign of intelligence is to include the strands of interconnectivity already there. As the Native American Chief Seattle said, "Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves."
We also have interconnectivity within us that is being ignored. This leads us to our next question.
What are the consequences to us as human beings when we obsess with tech advancement in imbalanced ways?
Externally focused attention distracts us, eclipsing personal potential. Self-actualization is reaching one's potential in a lifetime. As we look through the lens of integration, we see how reaching potential is a form of inner-innovation.
I've come across speculations that we are de-evolving mentally due to our extreme external focus. We may have used skills like intuition that have been muted out because instead, we go to the phone. In our current tech-obsessed culture, going within is no longer our first response.
Why not have both? Why not have the tech and develop our inner technology? The human being has fascinating amounts of untapped potential.
Innovation versus Inner-innovation
When our inner-innovation drives our external innovation, we will stop seeing massive consequences and start experiencing an equilibrium of true success. True success will never have a negative side effect attached. If there is a negative side effect, then that is not true success.
It is time we look at technology and the heart of advancement through a more integratively informed lens. We are collectively intelligent enough to create technology for good. Technologies where we don't have to put the blinders of self-deception on to make the next buck. Technologies that don't overcomplicate the world. Instead, they simplify it and align with it.
Technology done truly intelligently has the potential to elevate human potential exponentially.
The articles provided here on Integrative Intelligence do not capture, nor claim to capture, the full breadth of human dynamics.
These articles offer only a glimpse into new possibilities when we become more integratively aware and develop our scope of wisdom.
There are many facets to a single prism. These are but a few facets to help inspire a deeper and broader exploration.