A Conversation on Tools with Lewis Harrison
Foundational Principle for this Conversation: To explore
how the effective use of tools, particularly technology,
can give us greater access to the other 16 Wealth and
Freedom Resources. Definition: Tool – Any device used
to perform or facilitate manual, mechanical, or technological tasks.
STUDENT: Why are “tools” considered such an essential
resource for the creation of wealth and freedom?
LEWIS: In a world where each of us has unique talents and
gifts to serve ourselves and others, it is the availability of
practical tools that brings us what is needed to gain the
greatest benefit at the lowest cost. You might say that
of the SWFR, it is tools that can best transform our
weaknesses into strengths. It’s a basic rule that if you
want a job done right, you need a person who can do the
job and the right tools for that job. This a basic rule known
by car mechanics, dentists, brain surgeons, masons,
carpenters, and even Capuchin monkeys.
STUDENT: Capuchin monkeys?
LEWIS: Researchers have discovered that bearded capuchin
monkeys in the wild understand the importance of tools.
They will go through numerous stones until they find the
right one to crack nuts. If a stone is too crumbly, too large,
or too small they will reject it.
STUDENT: How are tools used ineffectively?
LEWIS: The answer to this question is too vast to fully address here, however it can be said that we are constantly influenced by emerging technologies that can radically transform and even destroy our ways of seeing the world. In large economies, sophisticated tools and technology applied without concern for conservation and balance may have a negative effect on the larger culture and society on every level (See the Conversation on Conservation and Balance).
STUDENT: What is the solution to this problem?
LEWIS: The solution to this is to create systems that ensure that tools serve our most humanitarian instincts. The causes of technological problems and the solutions to these technology issues is addressed in the writings of the visionary economist E.F. Schumacher. Schumacher has influenced the theories embraced by many important economists and community activists. Many of his ideas have formed the basis for a concept known as “appropriate technology.”
STUDENT: Please go into greater depth on the concept of appropriate technology.
LEWIS: There are two basic development theories within the concept of appropriate technology. These are: Intermediate Size and Intermediate Technology. I highly recommend Schumacher’s work if the subject of technology and local economics is a subject that is of interest to you.
STUDENT: Where do computers fit in this discussion?
LEWIS: Computers allow us to collect information that was once difficult to obtain about the most obscure subjects. They also allow us to use social networking more effectively and allow others to locate, retrieve, analyze, and store information about us (See the Conversation on Information and the Conversation on Social Networking).
STUDENT: How have tools changed in the computer age?
LEWIS: One way is in the world of information. Most information is now created, transferred, and stored in a single format – digital. In the past there were many forms and templates by which information could be transferred from source to receiver. Television, radio, typewriter, newspaper, telephone, film, and audio tape are just a few. Each of these functioned differently. In the 21st century all of these unique approaches to information gathering and transference have all merged into a digital format.
STUDENT: Where does the continuing expansion of technology fit into your concept of the extraordinary person? (See the Conversation on The Extraordinary Person)
LEWIS: In his book, “Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences,” Edward Tenner draws many examples from daily life of how complex our lives have become though we have created technology to make it all easier. For example, people used to go to the bank in the daytime to complete their transactions. Now, technology gives us cash machines so that we can use a plastic card and a code number to extract money after banking hours. Even so, studies have shown that the lines are longer now in the evening at cash machines than the lines we used to wait on during normal banking hours. Tenner also points out that before safety equipment was developed for aggressive sports, people were forced to be careful in order to avoid injury. In recent years, more sophisticated helmets and other protective gear have made sports technically safer and yet there are more injuries than ever. Safer equipment, it seems, has lead athletes of all types to take greater risks. Why? Because people become more reckless in their sporting behavior due to the sense of security they have with this equipment.
STUDENT: I hope you are not attacking technology. Scientific research has given us wonderful treatments for many awful diseases.
LEWIS: I am not against any tools that will help make life easier. Tenner points out that the widespread success of medical science has not come without cost:
With antibiotics has come the development of drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
Many high-tech medical procedures are beneficial because they create an environment for faster healing and less pain, but on the other hand there may be post-surgical complications that did not arise in the previous "old fashioned" approaches.
STUDENT: It seems that personal computers have provided great benefits to society with little negative effect. What are your thoughts on this?
LEWIS: Though computers have certainly increased productivity in many ways, they have also replaced one type of worker with new and different types of experts. Throughout society, workers are now required to learn additional skills to effectively use computers. In addition, new medical problems have arisen due to computers: from people sitting in chairs, repeating the same motions over and over, and staring into the computer screen. Back problems, hand and arm problems, and vision problems are the result of this new technology.
STUDENT: Taking what Mr.Tenner has pointed out do you believe that technology is more of a gift or more of a burden?
LEWIS: There is no clear answer to this question. It is the way of humans to create change or improve things wherever possible. This applies to technology as well as man's relationship with his natural surroundings. In spite of this, many of these attempts at improvement, though done with good intentions, often go awry.
STUDENT: Please give examples of how things go awry.
LEWIS: Mr. Tenner points out, that new forms of transportation like airplanes, trains, and automobiles have unintentionally allowed viruses, insects, and other various animals to migrate from their natural habitats to new regions causing destruction and havoc to the new ecosystems. Examples include Zebra mussels: which have blocked the intake pipes of power plants, factories, and water systems. These creatures left their habitats in the Aral, Black, and Caspian seas to Western Europe, later coming to North America by “hitching a ride on ships.” To achieve contentment will require more than technological advancement. It will require greater inner knowledge.
STUDENT: It seems that with the development of web based tools and technologies such as computers, cell phones, the Internet, and social networking it is virtually impossible to remain anonymous.
LEWIS: More than you could ever imagine. There was a time where our ability to create, receive, and store information could be anonymous and disconnected from anyone else. This is less and less the case. Now virtually everything we create: e-mails, text messages, phone calls, and computer created information all leave a “digital footprint” that can be traced back to us.
STUDENT: Can you explain the link between technology, the Harrison Mentoring Process, and the creation of love and freedom?
LEWIS: This much we know:
Information is increasingly becoming digital.
The power to create and disperse information has shifted from provider to user.
If you can control the creation and dispersal of information then you have greater ability to create the type of life you wish.
STUDENT: Please speak of the Internet as a tool for accessing wealth and freedom.
LEWIS: The Internet is the most revolutionary tool since the industrial revolution of the 19th century. The Internet has and continues to effect society as a whole and on an individual level in ways that one could never have imagined.
STUDENT: Please give examples.
LEWIS: The Internet revolution is changing the way that we relate to the natural world, organize and disseminate information, get access to power, use influence, create, manufacture, dispose of products, and do business.
STUDENT: On a hierarchical level, did the Internet come into group thinking from the top of the power hierarchy or the bottom layer?
LEWIS: Definitely the bottom. Whatever it has become since it became a recognizable entity, research shows us that the Internet was the natural technological evolvement of the intentions of activists and progressive thinkers (See the Conversation on Hierarchical Thinking).
STUDENT: I thought the origins of the Internet were in the defense department, the education department, and other U.S. government bureaucracies.
LEWIS: It may have been, although it doesn’t really matter. The Internet most likely would never have evolved or become what it has, if its origins remained in the creative centers of those only concerned with self preservation and the accumulation of material possessions. The Internet is the natural creative extension of those people who on some substantial level have an interest in taking chances, experimenting outside of corporate and bureaucratic settings, and cooperating with others.
STUDENT: Any final thoughts on tools?
LEWIS: The quality of tools to be found in a society, the skill to use those tools, and the intention on how they are used will define how much love, freedom, and contentment that society can provide to its members.
This blog is extracted from a larger work composed of over four hundred informational, inspirational and motivational conversations between Lewis Harrison and his students. These conversations are structured in Q & A format and integrate a vast, varied, and wide range of theories and disciplines.
To learn more about Lewis Harrison’s work or to coach/mentor with him go to http://www.lewisharrisoninspires.com/Lewis_Harrison_InspiredMentoringCoaching.html
NEW SEPTEMBER RETREAT: The Sept. 17-19 retreat is sold out.
ABOUT THE HARRISON MENTORING PROCESS:
The Harrison Mentoring Process is a personal transformation blog. It was created by Lewis Harrison, an acclaimed practical philosopher, author, speaker and contemporary spiritual teacher.
Much of Lewis’ work is influenced by a wide range of influences including the teachings, writings, and ideas of Plato (particularly the ideas attributed to Socrates), Joseph Campbell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lao Tsu and the Taoist Masters, the Bal Shem Tov, Game Theory, Meister Eckhart, Freud, Rumi, Buckminster Fuller, The Zen Master Suzuki Roshi, Milton Erickson, Masters and Johnson, Tantric philosophy, and Jung. This blog is extracted from a larger 3,600 page body of work. The work also integrates physical, emotional, spiritual healing and a wide range of holistic models including those used in the work of Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer etc. Much of the work addresses diverse techniques including Polarity Therapy, meditation, psychotherapy, cranial-sacral massage, Chinese medicine, Taoism, Zen, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and neuroeconomics.
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