How Technology and Power Can Promote (and Undermine) Human Flourishing
Andy Crouch, author, speaker, entrepreneur
The story of technology is the story of channeling power, from the generation of electricity at the macro scale to consumer choice and individual expression at the micro scale. This expansion of power is generally assumed to be an unquestioned good, by policy makers and ordinary citizens alike, and it has undoubtedly contributed to an unprecedented degree of material prosperity. But even as we continue to expand our technological capabilities, fault lines are becoming apparent and doubts are increasing. Is technology truly making our individual lives better? What is it doing to communities as small in scale as families and as large in scale as nation-states? Is our technological pattern at all sustainable, let alone beneficial, for our fellow creatures and the planet on which we all depend?
The search for a richer vocabulary can lead us back to one of the founding texts of the Abrahamic faiths, the Shema Israel of the Hebrew Bible, with its unique emphasis on human beings as persons constituted by heart, soul, mind, and strength — and uniquely designed for love. What would it look like to define power, and design technologies, in terms of our capacity to love with fullness of heart, soul, mind, and strength? We might find that recovering this vision of the human person will unlock a new, innovative direction for technology’s unparalleled gift of power.
Co-sponsored by Chi-Alpha, Ablaze, Catholic Campus Ministry, CCO, Cru, Family Movement, Intervarsity, Kleros, Navigators, RUF, VALOR