Skip to main content

The (spiritual) limits to technology

Written By | Jul 24, 2017

PETALUMA, CA, July 24, 2017 – Technology has its limits, not the least of which is its ability to provide any real connection with the ineffable, the transcendent, or the divine.

This is essentially the point I tried to make during a recent dinner conversation. Someone had suggested that human know-how – and, by association, human progress – was on the verge of being superseded by artificial intelligence, and I begged to differ.

It’s not that I have anything against technology. Far from it. It’s just that I have yet to see it come even remotely close to providing the sort of life-transforming wisdom that, at least for me, has only ever come through conscious communion with God.

Related: Spiritual practice key to religion’s survival

For example, some years ago when I was working as a video producer, one of my editors called to say that a project he’d been working on for the better part of a week had been completely lost. Apparently the hard drive he was using had gone on the fritz.

The solution seemed pretty straightforward: Deliver the hard drive to any number of tech geeks in town, wait a few days, pay an excessive amount of money, and voila! Problem solved.

Having neither the time nor the money to spare, I decided to pray. I wasn’t asking God, divine Mind, to literally fix the hard drive. Rather, because I’ve come to trust His presence in my life, I was listening for whatever ideas He had to take care of the situation.

Within moments the idea came to call a data recovery company I’d worked with before and explain what was going on. As it turned out, some new consumer software had just come on the market that they thought could help. I bought the software (pretty inexpensively as I recall) and in less than a day the project was back on track.

Although this is not what most would describe as “life-transforming wisdom,” there was a deeper lesson learned in that I was reminded of the divine source of intelligence – a reminder that has stood me in good stead ever since, particularly in regard to my health.

Related: Expanding our definition of ‘spiritual competence

I remember a time when a skin infection made it extremely uncomfortable to walk. In this case, it wasn’t a matter of not having the time or money to deal with the problem medically, but rather that same divine inclination I experienced after my editor called that prompted me to pray.

What came to mind was that, based on my study of the Bible, my purity – mental, physical, and otherwise – wasn’t the least bit matter-based but, instead, a divinely ordained, divinely maintained condition. Time and again I’ve found that to the degree I understand this mentally and spiritually, it’s expressed on the physical body. Although it took a bit longer for the infection to clear than the situation with my editor’s hard drive, my recovery was nevertheless rapid and complete.

“Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, – neither in nor of matter, – and the body will then utter no complaints,” writes Christian reformer Mary Baker Eddy. “If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well.”

No doubt human technology will continue to improve. But so, too, will our ability to better understand and apply the spiritual intelligence that results not only in improved physical circumstances, but in divinely inspired, divinely empowered, lives.

Eric Nelson writes about the link between consciousness and health from his perspective as a practitioner of Christian Science. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Follow him on Twitter. Continue the conversation on Facebook.

Eric Nelson

Eric Nelson’s column “Consciousness and Health” has appeared on a number of national media websites including The Washington Times, The Washington Post, KevinMD, The Houston Chronicle and American Public Media's "On Being” blog. Eric also serves as the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Northern California, enjoys road biking, and is more than happy to chat with anyone, anytime, about baseball.