Monday, February 1, 2010

When Technology Blinds

Joseph Pieper, Learning How to See Again.

"We have lost, no doubt, the American Indian's keen sense of smell, but we also no longer need it since we have binoculars, compass, and radar. Let me repeat: in this obviously continuing process there exists a limit below which human nature itself is threatened, and the very integrity of human existence is directly endangered. Therefore, such ultimate danger can no longer be averted with technology alone.

"At stake here is this: How can man be saved from becoming a totally passive consumer of mass-produced goods and a subservient follower beholden to every slogan the managers may proclaim? The question really is: How can man preserve and safeguard the foundation of his spiritual dimension and an uncorrupted relationship to reality?

"The capacity to perceive the visible world 'with our own eyes' is indeed an essential constituent of human nature. We are talking here about man's essential inner richness -- or, should the threat prevail, man's most abject inner poverty. And why so? To see things is the first step toward that primordial and basic mental grasping of reality, which constitutes the essence of man as a spiritual being.

"I am well aware that there are realities we can come to know through 'hearing' alone. All the same, it remains a fact that only through seeing, indeed through seeing with out own eyes, is our inner autonomy established.

"Those no longer able to see reality with their own eyes are equally unable to hear correctly.

"It is specifically the man thus impoverished who inevitably falls prey to the demagogical spells of any powers that be. 'Inevitably,' because a person is utterly deprived even of the potential to keep a critical distance."

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