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Technology in The Gods Must Be Crazy Soft spoken, cultivated and compassionate describe author Catherine Dees, who is also a documentary film producer and sponsor of archaeological digs in Egypt. Co-creator of an exhibit which debuted more than two decades ago about eternal consciousness called "Continuum: The Immortality Principle, " Dees presented a talk titled "The Gods Must Be Crazy" co-sponsored by SJA at the Continuum Center Gallery on 26 th and Hennepin this November 15 th. Discussing the origin and development of this exhibit, which also spawned a published book version in 1982, Dees finds inspiration from science, philosophy, art, religion, psychiatry, parapsychology and technology. "It is interesting that we are born with no fear of the invisible from which we have come, and yet that unknown realm is just as dark to our senses as the one to which we go at death. The whispering voice of wise old Lao Tsu says, 'There is a reality prior to heaven and earth. ' Could there also be a reality beyond it?" writes Dees The Gods Must Be Crazy- This cult-comedy begins when a bushman in the Kalahari encounters technology for the first time in the shape of a Coke bottle.
He takes it back to his tribe, and uses it for many tasks. The tribe begins to fight over it, so he decides to return it to the Gods - where he thinks it came from. The message implied by The Gods Must Be Crazy is that (1) different cultures perceive happiness based on different standards and that (2) modern life, if not being regulated by goodwill and laws, would result in sufferings. In a primitive tribe, the presence of a scarce resource - the Coca-Cola bottle - created contention among originally peaceful Bushmen and therefore was perceived as evil from their standpoint. In order to restore peace, the object of advanced technology was denied. Outside of the primitive society, science and technology are crucial for developing societies, and contention for limited resources is the norm.
In developing societies exist both good and evil. On one side are conveniences of modern life, better education and communication among people. On the other side are competition, stress, crimes and wars. Despite all the bad things of modern society, however, humans have to accept technology because they are used to and dependent on their techno sphere for a good life. Each society has its own way of life. Thus it might be impossible and even incorrect if one society attempts to impose its standards on another.
The Bushmen could not find happiness with the presence of modern technology, and modern people would rather lead a life with constant struggles between good and evil than abandon material possessions. From another vantage point, the film raises a philosophical-moral issue that is very similar to Taoism, and I wonder if the film makers indeed had some Taoist inspiration. According to Taoist principles, human problems root in the desires of material possessions and artificial things. As resources are limited, the result of individuals attempting to satisfy their desires is competition and conflict, which lead to evil and unhappiness. Contention and conflict tend to increase as society is progressing materially, and thus social institutions, laws and moral codes are needed to regulate the evil.
Law and morality, however, do not solve the problem of contention and conflict because human desires remain unsatisfied. As long as there are desires, human beings still have to deal with moral issues, laws and the un-ending battle between good and evil. Therefore, as Taoism asserts, the only solution to human problems is to return to primitive life, which does not foster desires for material possession and is in harmony with the Tao of nature. In summary, different cultures perceive happiness and approach human problems differently. The Bushmen have their Taoist-like approach to the problems, achieving complete harmony with nature. Their solution is simple and, in fact, is a correct and wise one because none of the people have to worry about anything else.
Their life is full of peace and harmony, and they enjoy eternal happiness. Modern humans, on the other hand, have a complex and far-from-complete solution to their problems. Laws and moral codes are the 'technical-fix's option to human problems because as long as there are unsatisfied desires, there are contentions. Even in peaceful situations, achieving goodness requires much effort from human beings: The struggle between good and evil is inherent within modern humans themselves.
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