Is material progress really the culprit? || BITS Pilani (2022)

August 4, 2022 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner (Q): I have a dilemma related to material progress. When I have debates with my friends and relatives who are good with academics and meditate sometimes, they are of the view that any kind of development, such as mobile phones, internet, etc., is a positive progress for us. I disagree with them.

Let’s consider mobile phone as an example. We can ignore all the unhealthy uses and focus only on the positives—for example, if I am in an emergency, I can call my family for help. I still consider the mobile phone harmful, although it does have utility in this context. If I did not have the option to call my family, people around me would take care of me.

So, I think that the mobile phone has increased the separation between us. And the same goes with other inventions. A car used as an ambulance might have some utility, but we were taking care of our health even before ambulances were invented.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Do the facts corroborate your stance?

Q: My stance is that I do not want this progress.

AP: Your stance is that even before the ambulance was there, people were being taken care of. If you look at the average life-expectancy of the people, let’s say, in the 16th or 17th century, what do you find there? Or, let’s say, you look at the situations of Europe at the time of the Black Plague—


Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More