Why did God withhold the discovery of modern technology from man until recently?

what is the reason for this and why does this reason not apply in our era?

(according to the shaar bitachon ch.3 God is in total exclusive control of everything that happens in the world. man only has free will in his intention to do things, but God is the one who completes every act.)

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    The current state of technology (and of pesak, for that matter) is the result of repeated applications of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_on_the_shoulders_of_giants . – Isaac Moses May 19 '13 at 13:07
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    Can you provide a source for the idea that the generations have been declining intellectually, in particular (as opposed to, e.g., spiritually)? – Isaac Moses May 19 '13 at 13:15
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    @R.S., please edit as much detail as possible about your premises into the queston. – Isaac Moses May 19 '13 at 22:25
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    Who said it was withheld, and not just that no one found it? – Double AA May 20 '13 at 18:00
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    @R.S. ummm....no. There are varied conceptions of free will even among Jewish sources. – Double AA May 21 '13 at 0:30

The Zohar (commenting on Bereshit 7:11) says that technological advancement will start in the year 5600, as a precursor and preparation for the Messianic Era.

Read about it here.

The Zohar (I:117a) reads this verse as an allusion to the following: “After six hundred years of the sixth millennium (the year 5600, corresponding to the civil year of 1840) the gates of wisdom above and the fountains of wisdom below will be opened, and the world will be prepared to enter the seventh millennium, just as man prepares on the sixth day (Friday) when the sun is about to set-to enter the Shabbat… ”

I don't want to cut and paste the whole article, but it is short and to the point. Basically, technological advancement help us realize the unity of G-d, which will be revealed when Moshiach comes.

The article is based on a Sicha from the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likutei Sichot vol 15, pg. 42, Parshat Noach). In a footnote there, the Lubavitcher Rebbe sources the idea that "fountains of wisdom below" refers to science to the Sefer Ashmoret HaBoker on the Zohar, published in Solonica, Greece in 1852.

Kovetz Haaros volume 948 (page 24) points out that the Sefer was written by "הרב יאודה [=יהודה] בן מוהר"ר שלמה הכהן" (and gives some information about him) and published by Moshe ben Avraham.

It also quotes the part of the sefer relevant to our discussion (2nd column of 200B):

"ואמר ובשית מאה שנין, לומר והוא שיתחיל לתקן בחינת מלכות כמו יום הש"ר [- לפי דבריו לעיל סוף טור ג, הכוונה ליום הושענא רבה, שהוא התיקון לכללות המלכות], באותה שעה יתפתחו תרעי דחכמתא לעילא ומבועי דחכמתא לתתא, ולא לענין חכמת התורה קאמר, אלא עיקר דבריו הם דיתפתחו מבועי דחכמה לתתא לתקון העולם כמו (ודבר זה אין תמיה, כי כן צריך להיות, דדבר שניתקן למעלה בקדושה ואורות גדולים, בעולם השפל זה יהיה התיקון כעין דברים אלו, ויש סוד גדול ואיני רשאי להאריך עוד) כמה חכמות שעושין הלועזים לתקן העולם שיהיה העולם בנחת, וכן בתקון בנינים נאים, ויתחיל לתקן עלמא לאעלא בשביעי, שהוא יום שבת, יום מנוחה..."‏

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    Your answer would be improved if you were to include a source from before 1840 that interpreted the Zohar this way. – Fred May 19 '13 at 20:20

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