Several mainstream media outlets reported today that the Dalai Lama (who delivered a speech in Vancouver as part of the World Peace Summit) had indicated that “technology could be an obstacle to peace” (I’m paraphrasing here). Ironically (or perhaps, appropriately), trying to find the actual speech online proved challenging for me. I wanted to find the actual source instead of linking to news sites. I ended up finding it from a couple of sources on Twitter – thanks Minna at The Network Hub and CommGurl. I’ve watched the clips but couldn’t really find that exact quote.
I can’t possibly think that a thought leader of the caliber of His Holiness the Dalai Lama would oppose technology on a fundamental level or find it an obstacle to peace. I can’t make any assertions on whether that’s what he said or not until I watch or hear the speech myself.
All of this said, I can’t think of technology as an impediment to peace after the whole green ribbon movement that occurred on Twitter supporting the Green Party’s candidate in the recent Iran election. People were talking on social networking sites and mainstream media outlets about possibly giving Twitter a Nobel Prize for its role in keeping insurgents in Iran connected with the outside world during the riots.
I can’t think of technology as not enabling compassion after having used it myself along with Isabella Mori to organize Mental Health Camp, a one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking one-day unconference exploring how social media could help break down the stigma associated with mental health.
Technology, if harnessed by compassionate people, can effect positive change. However, I’d argue that compassion comes from within, technology can’t generate it. What do you think?