Further Warnings about Technology in the Hands of Unexamined Souls

Yesterday we cited Thomas Merton’s deep concerns about our missing out on “the most important of all voyages” if technology distracts us.  This in light of the accomplishment of Richard Branson, billionaire number one’s visit to outerspace (to be followed by two more billionaires shortly).

ABC News reports on billionaire Richard Branson’s trip to the edge of space in his own personal spacecraft.

Dr. Larry Dossey raised a similar warning to Merton’s 46 years later when he commented in 2014 on my book Meister Eckhart: Mystic-Warrior for Our Times:

Whether our species has a future on Earth does not depend on the development of more gee-whiz technologies, but on whether we are willing to move into the psycho-spiritual dimension proclaimed by Meister Eckhart and elucidated by Matthew Fox in this important book.

Dossey, like Merton and myself, finds Eckhart to be a very reliable guide into our inner psycho-spiritual selves. Technologies that are roaming outer space on our behalf or are appearing as tools in our hands must not be allowed to distract from that all-important journey. Without this journey, our inner demons can remain unattended, and all our creativity can easily go to war, death, and destruction, serving only ego power, nationalism, or other idols. With an inner journey, we might harness our creative technology to serve the earth, the children, the future, and ourselves.

Thomas Merton. Photo by Sibylle Akers / Merton Legacy Trust

Merton complains about the “fiery chariots” of technocracy —

Grand machines, all flame,
With supernatural wings . . .

He tells us he much prefers “My old chariot of broken-down rain.”

 Merton was also suspect of technology because, as Labrie puts it, “the right arm of technocracy is war.” Merton reacted to warocracy when he wrote sarcastically:

I hear they are working on a bomb that will destroy nothing but life. Men, animals, birds, perhaps also vegetation. But it will leave buildings, factories, railways, natural resources. Only one further step, and the weapon will be one of absolute perfection. It should destroy books, works of art, musical instruments, toys, tools and gardens, but not destroy flags, weapons, gallows, electric chairs, gas chambers, instruments of torture or plenty of strait jackets in case someone should accidentally survive. Then the era of love can finally begin. Atheistic humanism can take over.

Short clip on what “Technocracy” is, from NowThis. Originally posted on Youtube by NowThis World.

He sees insanity ruling in a purely technocratic response to life. Of course, Merton lived during the height of the Cold War and witnessed the most severe standoffs between the United States and Russia, which he referred to when writing:

That is why we must not be deceived by the giants and by their thunderous denunciations of one another, their preparations for mutual destruction. The fact that they are powerful does not mean that they are sane, and the fact that they speak with intense conviction does not mean that they speak the truth.

He mocked the technology of the ovens used in the Holocaust and composed a “Chant to be used in processions around a site with furnaces,” which ends with this warning:

Do not think yourself better because you burn up friends and enemies with long-range missiles without ever seeing what you have done.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, back cover.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, pp. 122f.

Banner Image: Photo of the Spider Nebula. Photo taken from NASA website.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree that gee-whiz technologies do not guarantee our future but inner work does?  And that  power does not guarantee sanity nor does intense conviction guarantee truth?  How basic is inner work and inner discovery to recovering sanity and recovering truth?

Recommended Reading

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey

In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.
“This wise and marvelous book will profoundly inspire all those who love Merton and want to know him more deeply.” — Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  


Join Matthew Fox for a thought-provoking 7-week course: Answer the Call for an Uncommon Life Through the Mystical Teachings of St. Hildegard, Tuesdays, 6/15 to 7/27. While the course has begun, registration remains open, with recordings of past classes available. Learn more HERE.

Join us for a Virtual Teach-in with Isa Gucciardi and Matthew Fox, hosted by Rev. Cameron Trimble.
August 13-14, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Session 1: Friday, August 13 at 4pm-6pm PT
Session 2: Saturday, August 14 at 9am-12pm PT
Session 3: Saturday, August 14 at 12:30pm-2:30pm PT

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

5 thoughts on “Further Warnings about Technology in the Hands of Unexamined Souls”

  1. Avatar

    The insane methodology of unchecked technology
    Seems determined to elevate
    The inflated ego state
    To realms of madness
    That can only bring sadness
    To our already wounded earth
    Refusing to give birth
    To the most natural state of love
    That is freely bestowed from above

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Personally I found the video clip on technocracy very disturbing. Just because humanity has the ability to create powerful things through the advances of technology, doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do for the good of the whole. Often humanity has failed to look at the long term consequences of such creations and the ramifications they may have on not only humanity but on the all and the everything of creation. This has resulted in things like the atomic bomb, weapons of mass destruction, and cloning just to mention a few. Often the negative impacts of these man made creations are deliberately overlooked in favour of power, profitability, and control over. All of this is a misuse and abuse of our collective responsibility and authority… the free will ability given humanity as co-creative beings. Our choices create either death or life… however the reality and truth of this is often completely unacknowledged. It’s as if a large part of humanity has lost its moral and spiritual compass… the wisdom, guidance, and counsel it so desperately needs to find its way back to our true identity as co-creative beings… which can only begin to happen if we turn away from our wayward ways and start really doing the inner work of reconciliation and relationship with the very One whom has given humanity this gift of co-creation and free will choice.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, What you point out is what I call “the dark side” of the Via Creativa which Matthew lays out in what he calls “his evil book”–which is SINS OF THE SPIRIT, BLESSINGS OF THE FLESH. Thus in being co-creators we must ask ourselves: “Are we co-creators in what is best for creation or for evil?”

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: