We live in a world where we rely increasingly on technology, and its uses, as we know, are myriad. We use technology to communicate, to get about, cook our food, measure our health, and even to time our meditations – where would we be without it? But what about the downside? When it’s as easy to organize a terrorist attack as it is to post pictures of your cat how safe are we, how civilized, how free?
“I am reminded of H.G. Wells, who has written one of the best histories of the world. When the book was published one interviewer asked him, ‘What is your idea of civilization?’
“H.G. Wells said, ‘My idea? Civilization is a good idea, but it has still to happen. It is still an idea, somebody has to make it a reality.’
“Technology and science are not the problems. The problem is the retarded man. But we are strange people. We always think in strange ways.
“Mahatma Gandhi was thinking that if all the science and technology that has been developed by man and his intelligence, after the spinning wheel, could be drowned in the oceans; then all problems would be solved. And this country believed him, and not only this country, millions of people around the earth believed him – that the spinning wheel would solve all the problems.
“Railway trains have to be stopped, airplanes have to be stopped, post offices have to be closed, telegrams, telephones have to be destroyed – because all these things have come after the spinning wheel. In fact nobody knows what can be saved. Electricity? No. Medical science? No. In fact one will have to find out when the spinning wheel was invented. Perhaps bullock carts can be saved, fire can be saved – that’s all: fire, bullock carts, the spinning wheel, and everybody is a mahatma – and all problems disappear automatically.
“The question is not technology – that’s what Gandhi was insisting, that technology is corrupting man. My fight with him is that it is man who is retarded, that he is not capable of using the technology rightly.
“How can technology corrupt man? Do you think if Mahavira comes and sees a gun, the gun will corrupt Mahavira and he will start firing here and there, this way and that, because the gun corrupted him? Technology cannot corrupt anybody. Technology is just a means in your hands, and whatever you want to make of it you can make of it.
“Medical science thinks man can live three hundred years: old age can be simply avoided, diseases can disappear, man can live young, healthy, for three hundred years. But nobody is interested in that, no politician is interested in that. Their interest is in how to create death rays. And if death rays can be created, do you think it is inconceivable to imagine that life rays can be created? The same genius, the same scientist who can create death rays is capable of creating life rays.
“But nobody is asking for life rays. The demand is for death rays, and most probably they already have death rays in Russia and America both. Then there is no need to send a missile with nuclear bombs; death rays can just be directed toward a certain spot and they will pass through people, killing them in such a way that they will not destroy anything else. Your furniture will be saved, your houses will be saved, your cars will be saved – they will only destroy life. A strange kind of world – if death rays are used, houses will be standing, cars will be there, trains will be there; only life will not be found anywhere.
“Is technology corrupting man? No, I do not agree with that Gandhian idea.
“I hope that we will be able to create life rays, so that if life rays pass through a village the whole village becomes young, full of life. But religions will not like my idea, because even old people will start falling in love. Life rays? – no religion will be ready. Death rays are perfectly okay.
“Life rays passing through the Vatican: the pope falls in love, starts dancing in a disco, finds a girlfriend… As far as I am concerned, I would love for that to happen.
“Contemporary man has to be brought into existence. That is my work. That’s why everybody is against me – because they are not contemporary people. I am fighting a fight against everybody, because they are old, ancient, dead skeletons.
“If contemporary man comes into life, the whole of technology will be a servant. There is no need for any human being to function as a servant; technology can do that. Man’s labor hours can be almost finished. Machines can do that, and can do it more efficiently than man can ever manage. And if all the work can be done by technology and machines, man is free to evolve his consciousness. He has enough time to meditate, to transcend this life, to enter into the transcendental, the immortal.
“And machines can do miracles. You have heart attacks – so many people die of heart attacks – and now it is practically possible to exchange your hearts for plastic hearts. That does not mean that your love will become plastic, but the heart will become so strong that there is no possibility of its failure. Man’s body can be improved in every possible way. Plastic surgery can make human beings as beautiful as you can dream of.
“But the political idiots are concerned only with how to destroy. They are not concerned to beautify human life, to prolong human life, to help human beings to remain young, youthful, playful. They don’t want this earth to be a place of festivity, of joy, of song and dance; and they don’t want to give humanity time enough to evolve into new dimensions of being. They are perfectly satisfied with the old, out-of-date humanity.
“So I repeat again: the new man, the contemporary man, has not yet come on the stage. We have to herald his coming.”