My recent New Atlantis essay on the way beyond what I call The Standard Critique of Technology is now unpaywalled. This is an important essay for me personally, though I have no idea whether anyone else will find it valuable. It’s peculiar.
The basic question I ask is this: What if Neil Postman and Ivan Illich and Ursula Franklin and Albert Borgmann are all absolutely correct in their critique of how modern technocracy has developed — but as a result nothing has changed? What do we do now?
The basic answer I give is: There may be considerable resources available to us through the philosophical (as opposed to the religious) tradition of Daoism.
It may seem odd that as a Christian I am looking to Daoism, but again, it is to Daoism as a philosophical tradition (daojia) rather than Daoism as an organized religion (daojiao) to which I turn, and Christian thinkers have typically been open to the adaptation of non-Christian sources of thought. If Thomas Aquinas can appropriate Aristotle then I see no reason why I can’t appropriate Laozi. There are certain elements of Christian spirituality — especially from the Franciscan tradition: as I say in the essay, St. Francis is a kind of Daoist sage — that echo the Daoist approach to technology, but they remain, I think, underdeveloped. That’s something I want to work on in the coming years.