‘They Know not What They Do’: the spiritual meaning of technological progress

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This article considers the spiritual trajectory of modern technology. The concern that technology brings about a profound disengagement with reality through an environment constituted by disburdening devices must be taken seriously. It would seem that the drive towards technological availability—increased utility or productivity—produces pathologies on the basis of the concealment of teleology. I argue that it is unclear whether that imperative towards greater availability expresses itself in the pathological pursuit of means or whether it will necessarily re-orient itself towards a more fully projected good. In other words, is the drive to availability a dialectical process? I present an argument to affirm our negative capability based on the possibility of recognizing that we know not what we do.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-362
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2010


  • dialectic
  • technology
  • disengagement
  • disburdening
  • user interfaces
  • technological society
  • spirituality

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