Life Itself

Re-mythologizing Technology

When I was 4 my mother would take me to the Louvre as she was preparing for her exam to become a tour guide. She would always bring paper and pencil for me to sit and draw and my favourite section was the greek sculptures! Not only were these sculpture about these extraordinary gods and goddess fabulous but their mythology was so powerful! These stories and archetypes became part of my own mythology.

We live in a world of Mythologies. They are the stories that reinforce the way we relate to ourselves and the world around us. Mythology can be liberating but also a prison: we’ve seen many battle to free ourselves from certain myths, for example that women are less than men.

So what are the myths we live in today? Myth are so powerful, we don’t even realise we live in them because they are norms. In particular, I am interested in the myths we have around technology and human nature.

The current two myths that I see around Technology is the one of the savior like Prometheus. Technology will save us! These engineers and startups will bring these innovations to save us from a future apocalypse! Because our human nature is weak, lustful and sinful. We are stained by the original sin of Adam and Eve.

The other myth around technology is Frankenstein: we are creating a monster and our creation will have power over us – will AI destroy us? Because we are monsters so our creation can only be monsters too.

Why is it that we relate to technology is this binary way? The way we relate to technology is only a reflection of how we relate to ourselve. Why do we need technology to save us? Because the myth we have about ourselves is that we are weak, lustful and sinful. Why will our creation be monstrous? Because we believe we are monsters only capable of creating something terrible. The original sin is following us like a shadow and we are never free.

Indeed if we do not trust who we are in our core, how can we trust the other? If we do not have faith in ourselves how can we have faith in our future? So it is not surprising that we perceive technology to be the solution.

The myth we have about technology only shows us the missing trust we have about our human nature and fellow humans. “Human nature is horrific, it will destroy mother earth, we’ve used the Atomic Bomb, we only know how to solve conflics with wars and genocides.”

We survive in a paradigm where are not to be trusted and we therefore look at everything around us to prove to ourselves this very exact point.

We are so fearful of ourselves that it stops us looking into ourselve and being loving and caring to ourselves. As we are so terrible we are undeserving to be loved and cared for. This myth creates a terrible disconnection from each other but most of all from our own individual consciousness. Yet it is only our consciousness which can help us to elevate ourselves beyond our animal instincts and impulses. We are so scared of our human nature that we try to find an escape through the myth that technology will save us. We endlessly create without deeply reflecting on what it is that we give to the world. We give into our emotions without reflecting what are the seeds we water in our heart. In a world of material abundance we still feel so scared! With all this freedom to have we forgot that true freedom is the one to BE. In fact, we should see that today NOT to have and NOT to create has become a political act reflecting our consciousness that we can take another path.

We focus on our intelligence to solve problem but are blind to the fact that what we need before collective intelligence is collective love. Because if need to apply our intelligence together in order to find answer to problems that are too big for single individuals to answer, we also need collective love to heal to the wounds that drove us to perpetuate more pain and horrors. Suffering of this amplitude from wars to global warming cannot be healed by a single person.

So if the myth we currently bath in is the one of Prometheus, Frankenstein and original sin, there is yet another myth that is taking deeper roots, one of deep compassion, self awareness and transformation. Indeed what if the greatest technology is not outside of us but inside of us? What if this ultimate technology we’ve been looking for has been there all the time, waiting. What if the greatest Technology of all was our consciousness? We spend all this time running around looking for the next, new, hot, interesting thing and stop looking in ourselves. We can learn to be in touch with the power of the mind.

As Technology is evolving ever faster it is time to reclaim the mythology we have about human nature. Human consciousness like any other piece of technology advancement is only a reflection of how much attention we have given to it.

If human nature have all the vices of anger, lust, hate it also has all the qualities of kindness, compassion and love. Power is in what we give attention to. Maybe it time to give power to ourselves by dwelling in our consciousness and exploring all our hidden capacities.

Maybe it is time to re-mythologize human nature to one that is good, kind and loving – by nature.

By Sylvie Shiwei Barbier

Sylvie Shiwei Barbier is an Artist and Co-founder of Life Itself