Technology and humanity's progress
A Christian Science perspective: We don't need to pine for a simpler time gone by, or wait for the promise of future technological advances to improve life.
The other night while waiting in the car, I plugged my mobile phone into the car speakers and found a fascinating Internet podcast.
Several technology pundits (yes, there is such a thing) were prognosticating about the impact of technology on humankind. One of them commented along these lines: It may seem these days that there are more problems in more places in the world than ever before. But actually, today more people on earth are living better than at any time in history. He wasn’t sure that science and technology in itself should be credited with the continual improvement. Maybe, he thought, the creation of beneficial technologies is the effect of a gradually more humane, rational, and unconstrained way of thinking among humans.
That last comment really struck a chord. A phrase from the “Christian Science Hymnal” (No. 238) immediately came to mind: “Step by step, since time began,/ We see the steady gain of man.” It’s adapted from a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. “Man” here refers to all humanity.
Later, when I found the hymn, it brought that podcaster’s point, for me, to a whole new level. It reads in part:
O, sometimes gleams upon our sight,
Through present wrong, th’ eternal right;
And step by step, since time began,
We see the steady gain of man....
Henceforth my heart shall sigh no more
For olden time and holier shore:
God’s love and blessing, then and there,
Are now and here and everywhere.
Especially in troubled times we can see through the present wrongs, and appreciate the steady gain of good in our lives. We don’t need to pine for a simpler time gone by, or wait for the promise of future technological advances to improve life. God’s love and blessings for us are attainable right now, as they always will continue to be.
Perhaps certain advances in science and technology, such as in food production, manufacturing, and communications, are the effect of an overall spiritualizing of thought – a divine influence gradually lifting human limitations. In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy, referring to one of Jesus’ parables, saw a spiritual leavening effect throughout three important branches of study. She wrote: “In their spiritual significance, Science, Theology, and Medicine are means of divine thought, which include spiritual laws emanating from the invisible and infinite power and grace” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 118).
God’s power and grace are giving rise to great good for humanity. Many people today have found that drawing closer to God tangibly improves their lives. Instead of pinning our hopes for humanity on technological advances, we can, through prayer and in response to God’s direction, tap into the source of that “steady gain of man.” God’s laws bring health, wisdom, and harmony, here and now, for ourselves and everyone around the world.