Whether a wooden plow or a 4G cell phone, technology is always part of living in this world, and it has its benefits. but one danger of technology, especially of the modern variety, is that so much of it makes access to pleasure easier. by pleasure I mean the fleeting delight our senses give us, as opposed to deep, lasting happiness. It can be said, in fact, that the crux of the soul’s predicament in the material world is to think that pleasure will produce happiness and fulfillment.
I worry what will happen to the bodybound soul’s already dim awareness of the spiritual dimension when the products of modern technology can so quickly transport us mentally if not physically to our desired abodes of pleasure. When we can sit in our living rooms and gaze into wall-sized video screens of worlds that fulfill whatever our hearts desire, how will we be inspired to look inward?
by boredom, for one thing. and dissatisfaction. The scriptures, realized souls, and our own experience teach us that even when we acquire whatever pleasure we think will satisfy us, it never does. We’re always looking for more, like the deer searching the forest for the alluring fragrance of musk, not knowing he is producing it himself.
Still, despite our inevitable dissatisfaction, can we overcome the intoxicating lure of easily accessible pleasure? The Vedic scriptures say yes, because we’re spiritual beings and our innate attraction to the spiritual reality and to Krishna can never be smothered to extinction. Our dissatisfaction with material pleasure is itself a hint of our higher, spiritual identity.
The power of the soul’s attraction to Krishna Himself is in fact stronger than the hold His material energy exerts upon the soul. but we’re like headstrong children and want to enjoy independent of Krishna. So, like a covered magnet, our natural attraction to Him is blocked.
The solution is to uncover our love for Krishna, and in that quest, technology can help us. Technology is the manipulation of matter, or the material energy. The source of that energy is Krishna, and how we use it determines whether it’s good or bad. using the material energy to stay under its grip is bad; using it to return to our original, spiritual, home is good.
I’m thankful for the contributions technology makes toward my spiritual life, beginning with the printing press that produced the first book I ever read about Krishna. I’m thankful for the ship that carried Srila Prabhupada to the West and for the planes that transported him around the world a dozen times.
Central to the practice (and perfection) of Krishna consciousness is to always remember Krishna. Technology can distract our minds from Krishna, no doubt, but if we make the right choice, today it can also connect us to Krishna anywhere, anytime.