Technology wins wars. The technologically advanced civilization generally wins out over the less advanced civilization. The almost cliché example of this is the Spanish Conquistadors rapid conquest of central American civilization. The Conquistadors were greeting like gods as they emerged from the sea. Disease played a tremendous part too, but it was gun powder and steel that won day.
The bronze age weaponry and technology gave way to iron age civilizations as iron swords sliced through bronze swords. Alexander’s phalanx steam rolled less organize armies. The military technology and engineering of the Roman legions marched through the Mediterranean world. The advanced technology of mounted soldiers replaced the infantry as most evidenced by the Mongolian Hordes mastering the bow and arrow while mounted. Cross bows replaced long bows and gun powder replaced the bow and arrow. Artillery gave way to trench warfare, which gave way to mechanization, and on it goes.
Tecumseh’s fate is a lesson in technology. It has been said that if Tecumseh was a European, he would have been an American Caesar, a Washington, or Napoleon. In the early 1800s this dynamic leader of the Shawnee was facing annihilation by European expansion and he knew it. Tecumseh adopted European fighting technology. Tecumseh embraced the rifle and fought fiercely. While Tecumseh was away rallying southern Indian tribes in an effort to form a confederacy, his brother known as the ‘prophet’, disobeyed his orders and engaged an attack with the Americans. The ‘prophet’ provided an elixir that was supposed to repel bullets. Naturally this didn’t work and Tecumseh’s fate was altered. Technology won over the prophet’s magic. This event undermined Tecumseh’s strategy. Tecumseh’s efforts of unifying Indian tribes to stop American westward expansion, never materialized.
Technology is not merely a military adaptation. All areas of life are impacted by new technology. Technology created surplus time, which led to more creativity and innovation. Camp fires evolved into candles, and then oil lamps, and then light bulbs. Just as steam engines evolved into combustion engines. Technology enhances civilization and improves quality of life. From early technological innovations like creating fire at will, and the wheel, to advanced transportation and distribution of products and services, quality of life increases. At least, theoretically, this is true.
On the flip side, technology may be contributing to chronic conditions that are contrary to good health and well being. Lack of physical exercise, poor eating habits, which contribute to poor health, are the result of technological advancement. Poor eye sight is certainly attributable to technology. First books, then computer screens. The advanced technology of media has created constant fight or flight, which damages physical and mental health. Attention span issues are enhanced by technology. Cultural rot can be attributed to enhanced technology via mass media.
It is when technology is no longer our servant and we become slaves to technology that problems arise. The technology influences who we are rather than freeing us to discover or develop who we are.
Competition drives technology and technology drives competition. It is the competitive edge that draws many to the latest technological innovation. Where this approach will likely take a devastating turn is in the world of transhumanism. This modernized eugenics, which is a technology of sorts, poses a serious threat to humanity.
On one end there are those transhumanists that are experimenting on humanity to create a viable shell to house consciousness, and AI enhanced consciousness, ostensibly forever. On the other end there will be the willing fools or ‘lab rats’ seeking the competitive advantage. The military advantage of hybridized soldiers is an obvious sell. Then there will be the helicopter parent seeking to give their child the competitive advantage, with advanced microchip technology allowing immediate access to the internet and archives of information at instant recall. An enhanced IQ, let alone the ability to create a hive mind and synchronized thoughts. I guess there would be no need for mass media brainwashing and censorship if everyone is ‘connected’….
Seriously, this is the quandary. The argument will always be that either you compete or become obsolete. There is always the fear of being left behind. The fear of being irrelevant.
Is transhumanism the next logical step in technological evolution? Is it unavoidable? Is there no turning back? Is changing what it means to be human a technological advancement or a downward spiral into oblivion?
Let’s examine another possibility. Transhumanism is not an evolutionary or technological leap. It is a reckless exercise in lack of discernment and wisdom. Transhumanism is a perversion of science in its truest sense. It is a leap of faith not in a higher power, but in a lower power. It is a leap of faith in technology. Faith in the tool, not the craftsman. It is like placing trust in the paint brush, not in the artist. Faith in the creative instrument, not in the Creator.