I do not subscribe to the cynicism of Swiss playwright Max Frisch who is quoted as saying that "technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it" (qtd. in Gup, A52). In common with many of my sources, literary and personal, I believe we must find a way to make technology our servant rather than our master. There are a myriad of ways in which technology has changed our lives. I will discuss just a few: biological/medical; environmental; political and educational.
In his Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Neil Postman traces the evolution of technology from a system of support to a monstrous tyranny that overshadows our lives from birth to death. In the fields of medical technology, politics, religion and the media, he deplores the loss of humanity, sacrificed to the techniques of information storage, retrieval and dissemination (115-117).
For many, the "wake-up call" regarding the dangers of uncontrolled technology came from reading Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Her book encouraged the growth of environmental groups which succeeded in outlawing the use of DDT. Lobbyists have derailed efforts to change, by law, the methods of chemical fertilization and the use of pesticides. These methods are fouling our rivers and streams and killing the Everglades. The miracles of chemical technology in defeating disease does not justify its use in these ways nor does it ameliorate the fears we have regarding biological warfare. This is just one instance of the "tail wagging the dog."
The improvements in medical care counterbalance these problems. Personally, I must remember that without the advances in cardiac and cancer research, neither my young granddaughter nor I would be alive today. Dr. Lloyd Young mentions Positron Emission Tomography which may transform the treatment of bi-polar disease and schizophrenia (Young).
The combustion engine is another form of technology which has changed our culture for better and worse. At present , more than 160 countries are meeting in Kyoto, Japan, to discuss the problems of global warming. The most recent reports from there are that there is much rhetorical posturing going on but little in the way of solutions or agreement (Washington Post ,...