Sunday, October 6, 2013

Love, Technology, and Being Human

Part of this sounds like Genesis 2:7:
"Prometheus moulded men out of water and earth* and gave them also fire...."
(The creation of man: Apollodorus 1.7.1, via University of Houston Classical Studies)
Interestingly enough, God didn't give us fire: not in Genesis, anyway. The Almighty didn't even tell us what the animals should be called:
"So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name."
(Genesis 2:19)
I'm no Biblical scholar, but it looks like God gives humans credit for being able to work out some details ourselves. That's hardly surprising, since we're made "in the image of God," and in charge of this creation. (Genesis 1:26)

Ancient Technology: Persian Joy Buzzer?

(From Ironie, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission.)
Baghdad batteries: ancient joy buzzers?

More recently, folks have claimed, or assumed, that space aliens jump-started human civilization by showing us how to make things like the Baghdad battery and Antikythera mechanism. Cool as that would be, I think it's much more likely that folks in Roman times weren't all that different from us.

I remember when some scholars claimed that folks in earlier eras couldn't possibly have traveled far enough to leave evidence that others were finding. Some of  the arguments seemed to be of the "I can't do it, so it can't be done" variety.

Then Thor Heyerdahl started using old technology to make those long trips, and that's almost another topic.

My guess is that the Antikythera mechanism was a high-end bit of technology that included a 19-year calendar. Tech like that was probably as common as Patek Philippe watches are today: and just as terrestrial in origin.

The Baghdad battery may have been the Persian equivalent of a joy buzzer: or, more likely, used in electroplating. Or it might be an unnecessarily complicated paperweight that just happens to work as a battery. Whatever those things were used for, I'm quite confident that folks in Baghdad made them locally: or got them from other equally-human folks.

Being Human: It's Okay

Getting back to Genesis, here's how the first chapter ends:
"God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed - the sixth day."
(Genesis 1:31)
Things went downhill when we broke the lease. That's in the third chapter. Adam and Eve probably didn't look like Dürer's pale pare, but they acted very - human. When God asked what happened, the man blamed his wife: and God. (Genesis 3:12-13)

That didn't end well. We lost the harmony with all creation that we'd been given, but we were still human, made in the image of God.(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 31, 355-361, 374-379)

And we still had dominion over nature, with all the power and responsibility that goes with it. (Catechism, 373, 2402)

Eden and Lederhosen

I could point out that we made the first clothing after the fall. (Genesis 3:7)

With a little research and massive infusions of imagination and coffee, I might weave that into a "Biblical" denunciation of clothing, the textile industry, and technology in general. It seems like a silly idea, though: particularly here in central Minnesota.

Besides, the Genesis story has God making leather garments, after that fig leaf thing and a discussion about Adam and Eve's status. (Genesis 3:21)

Oddly enough, I don't recall anyone claiming a Biblical mandate for wearing lederhosen: and that is another topic.

Loving Neighbors, Two Millennia and Counting

Two thousand years ago, the basic rules were 'love God, love your neighbor; see everyone as your neighbor.' (Matthew 5:43-44; Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31 Luke 10:25-30)

Loving neighbors didn't come easily, particularly considering implications of the good Samaritan story.

Since then we've developed movable type, moldboard plows, steam powered pumps, electric telegraphs; and sent robot dune buggies to Mars.

And the basic rules are still 'love God, love your neighbor; see everyone as your neighbor.' They're part of natural law, ethical principles built into the universe. Following them wasn't easy two millennia back, and still isn't. But in the long run doing what's right is a good idea. (May 12, 2013)

Two thousand years from now, we'll almost certainly have learned more about this creation, and developed new technologies.

And 'love God, love your neighbor; see everyone as your neighbor' will still be a good idea.

Related posts:

1 comment:

Gunther Cox said...

Nice post, I just found it from a link on Google+, but it made me wonder if the battery was ever used an ancient prank to zap people.

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.