In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations
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In this provocative work, Mander challenges the utopian promise of technological society and tracks its devastating impact on native cultures worldwide. The Western world’s loss of a sense of the sacred in the natural world, he says, has led us toward global environmental disaster and social disorder—and worse lies ahead. Yet models for restoring our relationship with the Earth exist in the cultures of native peoples, whose values and skills have enabled them to survive centuries of invasion and exploitation.
Far from creating paradise on Earth, technology has instead produced an unsustainable contest for resources. Mander surveys the major technologies shaping the “new world order”—computers, telecommunications, space exploration, genetic engineering, robotics, and the corporation itself—and warns that they are merging into a global mega-technology, with dire environmental and political results.
working toward the disintegration of central political power in favor of local control, economic self-sufficiency, and small-scale nature-based principles-Green principles. Several participants publicly advocated a role for computers in building networks among the bioregions, thereby facilitating rapid exchanges of information. Although it was acknowledged this might create some centralization, it was also argued that computers are a "neutral tool" that could help groups whose goals are anathema
in the Chronicle series as saying, "This is without question the most exciting time I've had in my life .... I feel like if I work an extra two hours this week I'm saving the life of someone who, within two hours, might have died. The practicality of what I'm doing is very vivid. It's clear. It's beyond good science. It's knowing that what I was doing this afternoon is going to lead directly, acutely, to benefit mankind. That's pretty mind-bending." I have read similar statements from scientists
screening might help people avoid marriages between two carriers of a dangerous hereditary trait. There are also racial implications: black people, for example, are far more likely to carry the genes that may later produce an outbreak of sickle-cell anemia. Population-wide genetic screening seems like a positive idea to many people because of the potential to reduce or eliminate certain diseases and protect future generations. But again, this is the best-case vision. The other side of the story
battling the overwhelming economic power of agribusiness, now find that invented animal breeds are another weapon in the corporate arsenal. The new animals, controlled and patented by these huge corporations, will be doled out only to farmers who can pay a DEVELOPING THE GENETIC WILDERNESS rnonopoly price, thus endangering the viability of family farming even more. (The Supretne Court has ruled that new life forms, and new animal breeds, may be legally patented, just like any other piece of
biotechnology. He points out that we have been altering nature for thousands of years, at least since the beginning of agriculture, and that biotechnology is only the latest example. He feels that given a balance between potential good and potential harm, genetic engineering is good, since so many aspects of it are useful to humans. He acknowledges risks, but is willing to accept them. "No research or development in any field would be possible if we demanded absolute certainty," writes Anderson.