Lately I've been wondering what drives people to do certain things. I recently read this quote from Einstein, tipped off by Pinan:
' I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved, are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, Kepler and Newton must have had, to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics! Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength.'
I guess an oversimplistic view of what einstein is saying is that these men had hope in something greater than themselves, hence the spiritual and religious connotations. Although the explanation is eloquent and seems to answer the question of why these men were so motivated, it really only raises more - why does this supposed cosmic religious feeling even exist? Religion in general? Is it the feeling that one is part of something greater?
If so, I wonder what happens when technology reaches critical mass of connectivity. Meaning when our devices connect the world so tightly that you can't help but feel connected to something so enormous and powerful: the rest of society. Feelings of isolation end up becoming implicitly mental, and where once before we viewed isolation as negative and community as positive, perhaps the opposite will be true and every possible chance we get we'll say, "GO AWAY!" because connectivity will be so overwhelming.
But to get back to the point, will this technology become our religion, if it provides the same comfort in something greater than oneself?