October 5, 2009
God/s Make Men, Men Make Trouble
Just finished reading about what's now possible with engineering of genes and organisms. It's pretty creepy.
Not so much because it's necessarily more dangerous than existing GMOs, or nano-pollution, or climate change, or rusting nuclear weapons. They're all capable of freaking out most optimistic and sensible people.
The real problem is human nature. I just don't think we have the emotional sanity and spiritual stamina to avoid the corruptions of power. And many technologies offer too much power.
Power corrupts just the way the Ring of invisibility corrupted Smaug in the Lord of the Rings, just the way it would have corrupted Frodo had Sam not intervened.
Many human religions warn of hubris, of the vanity that built the tower of Babel, of the yang than always overextends itself to become yin, that pride goeth before a fall. And the only time Christ is known to have been angered was by spiritual pimps profiting in the temple.
Can spiritual wisdom enter into political decisions? Can we possibly learn the kind of peacefulness and cooperation that would solve the problems we have always known how to solve if we weren't so selfish and competitive?
For example, what good will it do us to design better children when we do such an overall lame job of taking care of them all and bringing them up happy and healthy? We can't even offer most of them the traditional benefits of old-fashioned breast-feeding and healthy food and water.
Until we learn how to do well the things we already know how to do, we aren't going to do that well with the new things either.