“Without technology humanity has no future, but we have to be careful that we don’t become so mechanised that we lose our human feelings.” – Dalai Lama
The technology has revolutionized the world and it has had a great impact on human life. These technologies which range from the curing of diseases, modern communication, internet and all the things we have invented has solved many human problems. The positive impact of technology cannot be undenied but there have been some negative impacts of technology as well. Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists and a worldwide symbol of kindness believes that technology in itself does not guarantee a happier world.
Dalai lama informs us that the motivation behind a technology determines its positive or negative impact on the world. Technology motivated by anger and hatred is likely to be destructive such as the nuclear weapons that killed thousands of people in Japan. Technology will only be beneficial if we are motivated positively to seek the welfare of all beings. He tells us that humans have the capacity to both make the world better or destroy the world. By practicing self-discipline, restraining greed and reacting appropriately to negative emotions we can lead to a better future. Thus, our mind determines the positive effects that we can have on the world as the mind is the source of both positive and negative emotions.
Since the mind has such colossal effect on everything, Buddhism believes in the training of mind by meditations. But the question that these meditation techniques actually work and does it have a positive impact the human brain should be investigated by science. Dalai Lama believes that the Buddhist techniques should be supported by science. But before the late 20th century, there was no means to test the effects of meditation on the human mind. Only after the discovery of new technologies scientist have found evidence of the impact of mind training.
Moreover, with the new developments in neurotechnologies, people are able to measure brain waves and state of the mind. And it is likely that we will be able to stimulate feelings or emotions through these scientific discoveries. It is not a wild fantasy that the negative emotion that leads to mental health issues could be treated in future. Thus the Dalai Lama expresses his idea by quoting:
“If it was possible to become free of negative emotions by a riskless implementation of electrode – without impairing intelligence and critical mind – I would be the first patient.”
Furthermore, these new discoveries in neuroscience might stretch to the field of consciousness as well. According to the Buddhist point of view, there are several levels of consciousness, from the gross to the subtle. Dalai Lama believes that these type of consciousness might have some physical base and correlation to the brain, and this correlation can be discovered by science. The gap between Buddhist understanding of consciousness and scientific understanding of consciousness will hopefully be bridged by our progress on neuroscience.