A friend, Cory Wright, came by with his Tesla and I took a ride in the future. Clean of buttons, dials, knobs, and everything we associate with the operation of a car, the Tesla is an automated—not just a car— national system. The car does everything but make your coffee to keep you awake, but to make sure you don’t sleep when it is driving it does nudge you to touch the wheel every now and then, and if you don’t touch it, it stirs you with sound, and if you are still asleep it pulls over. In all kinds of weather and conditions, the Tesla gets you home.
With charging stations now dotting the map, the car plans your trip by the charges and time will need for each charge. At the charging stations you get to bond with other Tesla drivers.
And fast. When you floor it, it goes to 60 in 4 secs. With its battery as the base of the whole car, it won’t tip over, and with trunk space in the front and back, you are protected in crashes. From the smile on my friend’s face, I can see the Tesla has put the fun back in driving.
Everything is controlled by the big screen at the dash through voice commands. There are a few moments in history when you are fortunate to have one foot in the past and the other in the future. In the Tesla you can actually drive a computer..or I should say, the computer drives you.
I came up with the idea during this talk of Material Buddhism, that’s what our Western technology is. While Siddartha wanted to be free from the suffering of the mind (and he became the Awakened One), modern technology wants us to be free from the suffering and weight of the body. Everything will be voice commands, so even if you are in an iron lung, you can operate the world without having a body. While the Buddha shows us how to transcend the mind, modern technology shows us how to transcend the body. But Buddhism is free and you have to pay for a Tesla.
Our material world is a reflection of our “spiritual world.” But these words material and spiritual are misleading because they are not two worlds side by side, or even one on top of the other. Our modern technology is a material spiritual path. In the West we want to achieve Nirvana in form, in experience, so we can be there in our little Ego to enjoy our achievement. If you are not going to be there to enjoy arriving, why bother with the trip? So in our comfort machines, we can enjoy arriving, like today in the Tesla. But oh how soon the new machine becomes the old machine and we wonder where the next Nirvana is going to come from to relive us of our prison in form.