Materialism and AI technology are taking humanity to a fundamental crisis of meaning. The ancients foresaw this problem of emptiness, and to counter this they exalted the idea of renunciation and self-denial. To them the pursuit of happiness was a subtle dance between enjoyment and sacrifice. We must discover the proper way to do this dance in our present times, and that will require a renewed faith in the powers of the spirit and the imagination.

Subhash Kak is an Indian-American computer scientist who is the Regents Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oklahoma State University–Stillwater, a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council, and author books including, The Astronomical Code of the Rigveda, The Nature of Physical Reality, and articles such as The Measure of Space.