only feel the emotion of true love by buying the latest model automobile! It is an obscene perversion of human possibility to tie our future hopes to material gain. Indeed, we know that such gain does not bring happiness but the lotteries of our country continue to pour millions into the Governmental coffers.
If happiness is truly pluralistic, then specification of happiness will be an arduous endeavor indeed. However, if we are able to specify happiness as a process and what represents greater or lesser degrees and that technology can help us to achieve those degrees, independent of the detriment of any other individual, then hope does exist. For example, virtual world experiences need affect no other individual and can provide opportunities for 'convivial' interaction (see Illich, 1973). As we each take small steps along the path of life, we each need to stand up and designate the purposes of life. We have no requirement to be eternally correct and although it is tempting, we should not specify such purposes as absence alone, such as the absence of food or oppression. Rather, we need to articulate collective, global, societal goals if the future is not to be the haphazard quilt of happenstance that marks our essential past. Those who mediate between human and technology must have a crucial voice in this debate.
I'd like to thank Dr. Ernest Volinn for his comments on an earlier version of this paper. The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policy of any agency or group with which I have affiliation.
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