We have to consider the position of this human “begetting” in a culture that has been overwhelmed by “making” — that is to say, in a technological culture. And here we must stress a point that is often made by those who have taught us how to think about our technological culture – we may mention George Grant’s Technology and Empire and Jaques Ellul’s The Technological Society – that what marks this culture out most importantly is not anything that it does, but what it thinks. It is not “technological“ because its instruments of making are extraordinarily sophisticated (though that is evidently the case), but because it thinks of everything it does as a form of instrument-making. Politics (which should surely be the most non-instrumental of activities) is talked about of as “making a better world“; love is “building a successful relationship“. There is no place for simply doing. The fate of a society which sees, wherever it looks, nothing but the products of human will, is that it fails, when it does see some aspect of human activity which is not a matter of construction, to recognize the significance of what it sees and to think about it appropriately. This blindness in the realm of thought is the heart of what it is to be a technological culture.

Nevertheless, though thought comes first, there are implications in the realm of practice too. Such a society is incapable of acknowledging the inappropriateness of technical intervention in certain types of activity.

Begotten or Made?: Human Procreation and Medical Technique. 📚