Technofutures, Nature and the Sacred: Transdisciplinary Perspectives
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The capacity of human beings to invent, construct and use technical artifacts is a hugely consequential factor in the evolution of society, and in the entangled relations between humans, other creatures and their natural environments. Moving from a critical consideration of theories, to narratives about technology, and then to particular and specific practices, Technofutures, Nature and the Sacred seeks to arrive at a genuinely transdisciplinary perspective focusing attention on the intersection between technology, religion and society and using insights from the environmental humanities. It works from both theoretical and practical contexts by using newly emerging case studies, including geo-engineering and soil carbon technologies, and breaks open new ground by engaging theological, scientific, philosophical and cultural aspects of the technology/religion/nature nexus. Encouraging us to reflect on the significance and place of religious beliefs in dealing with new technologies, and engaging critical theory common in sociological, political and literary discourses, the authors explore the implicit religious claims embedded in technology.
child and other occasions within the community. Zhek-zhaats interact in accordance with the principle of alasasynyn-beresesi bar, which means ‘receiving implies giving’ – if you take, then you give back. It serves as a reciprocal principle between zhek-zhaats. The contribution made by any of zhek-zhaat members varies depending on the occasion. If it is a marriage or funeral, for example, then there are many social rules and expectations in accordance to which zhek-zhaats fulfil their
geoengineering require a speculative projection that is capable of sustaining an imagination of world managed through the direct manipulation of climatic systems. At the same time, calculative assessments of climate modification – and particularly the projects of global cost-benefit assessment – have assumed a mythical quality, presenting the future of the world as simply a matter of rational administration and calculative intervention. Just as the secular had to be imagined theologically, so
we take an even closer look we then see that this decisive difference corresponds to another difference in terms of modality and quantity: whereas in the present and past tense we speak about present and past reality, sentences in the future tense refer to possibility; consequentially, as far as quantity is concerned, sentences in the future tense, although grammatically pretending to speak about the one future, in fact are speaking about different futures because otherwise they would not speak
uncritical ways, in titles such as Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin’s American Prometheus (on Oppenheimer), The New Prometheans by Robert S. de Ropp and Jungk’s Brighter than a Thousand Suns. A chapter of Jungk’s personal history of the physicists is titled ‘For They Know Not What They Do’, an echo of Jesus’ words on the cross, asking forgiveness from God for those who put Him to death. These narratives – not unlike the photo-essays analysed by Hales – function to shield the actors against
ever increasing efficiencies. Clearly, different values or ethics need to be embraced and inculcated if we are going to embrace a process of de-growth to a sustainable and effectively stationary state of the economy. This is not a new enterprise. In the mid nineteenth century, John Stuart Mill took to task his political economic predecessors like Adam Smith who, he insists, were overly fascinated with the moving state but neglected to explore the end goal of industrial progress for society. When