I love technology in all its forms, cutting-edge technology, technology that hasn't been built yet, but what I love most all is hidden technology that is so robust that we barely think of it as having been invented, what was once novel, new, complained about and now is almost invisible. Technology hides in many forms, it started from the simple rubbing together of two sticks to make fire, through language and up to the stars with satellites and reusable spaceships. It does not have to compete with spirituality, it does not oppose or suppress humanity except as a tool used by other people seeking power and prepared to use force, when used correctly it liberates, empowers and can become symbiotic, co-opted to support our natural abilities.
Once the only knowledge you had was that which you could carry within your own mind, you had to learn stories by Rota, you had to create patterns in the stars to navigate by sight and you had to know the names of plants like you knew the names of your family. Humans are capable of remembering fast amounts of data, to be an educated person before the printing press, you had to build a mind palace, that is you took a real place that you knew intimately and which has a number of distinct locations within it, anywhere between 10 and a hundred, then you would place unusual objects or people doing unusual things, each of which would trigger a memory that contain data. Before we had book to store knowledge, this was the only way of remembering things, and it is still useful for carrying important ideas close to you, however technology changed everything.
First books enabled us to both remember and share information, from person to person and through time, so that ideas were not forgotten. Printing presses made it cheaper, newspapers made it faster, radio made intimate, television created experiences that were memorable and the Internet has taken even further, and acts as our ultimate store of all knowledge. When artificial intelligence starts curating that knowledge for our own personal experience and needs, it will not lessen who we are, it will empower us.
When it comes their own minds, there is no reason for the technology to stop at the physical barrier of our skin, not that I am suggesting any implants or surgical procedures. You should certainly be selective about what you put into your mind, though not to use every tool that science has given us to understand the mind, would be to ignore the most important part of reality, and for each individual it is their perceived reality that is important. The Buddha's four noble truths were really programming instruction for how to think, how to perceive reality or in other words it is our perception that shapes reality, there are many models that we can adopt to view the world and you should certainly take some time to consider which is the best for your life situation at this moment.
Stoicism gives us another model of the world where there are things which are in our control and others which are not. It is a kind of filing system for thoughts, a technology that is tried and tested in the physical world, no one doubts that filing helps to organise knowledge, from the complex Dewey system for library books to the simple sorting systems for delivering letter (note for younger people, this was like email but written down on paper and physically sent to another person). Through experimenting with every type of sorting system, it was found that the quickest system was to have three options for the sorter, so when they received a letter, the first sort would divide the post into three piles local, national and international, many other sorts would follow but each stage would only have three options until it got to the end box.
The same holds true for your mind, you can sort through your thoughts very quickly when you pay attention. As much as I hate labels, when you are sorting it is useful, when it comes to your thoughts good and bad, are too powerful to be sorting label, thoughts are not good and bad as such, that is a judging sort of attitude, it would be more accurate to say that there are poorer and better thoughts for you, we are all after all just trying to make better choices for ourselves, to take better actions and be better people. However when it comes to sorting those are long and complicated label, whereas what we want is a quick, simple and robust system, clear boxes for us to divide our thoughts rapidly. As long as we bear in mind we are not actually judging ourselves or our thoughts, it is simply a system for improving ourselves.
As with any new job, it takes a while to get into the flow and to understand which thoughts should go into which box and why, what makes one thought good and another bad. For Stoics, thoughts that concern themselves about things we do not control are poorer for us because they take our attention away from things we can control and reduce our energy without any result, worrying and empathy take energy that drain us. However it doesn't stop there, even if we are thinking about something that we can control, there are still thoughts that do not service us, there are 10 distortions of thinking, that are covered in the feeling good handbook written by Dr Burns, once you understand them you will realise that they are bad or poor thoughts to have.
Which returns us to our boxes, there is a second stage to this sorting process, good thoughts can pass through without further attention. However the poorer thoughts have a nasty habit of turning backup on the sorting pile, they have to be dealt with and the way you do that is by turning them into better thoughts. My favourite game is, where is the lesson? You can turn virtually any bad thought into good one, by changing your experience of it, a painful memory if you can find a learning experience within it, how it made you a better person, it will cease to be a source of suffering and instead become the finest teacher you can have. Which makes a little afternoon filing, well worthwhile for me.