The Benefits and Curses of Technology

Topics: Technology, Society, Change Pages: 2 (672 words) Published: October 8, 1999
"Many facts concur to show that we must look far deeper for our salvation than to steam, photographs, balloons or astronomy. These tools have some questionable properties. They are regents. Machinery is aggressive. The weaver becomes a web, the machinist a machine." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Throughout the course of human history, men and women have taken steps to make life easier. Going back to the allegorical curse placed upon man in the Genesis scriptures, that he should "work by the sweat of his brow," men have tried desperately, to some avail to annul that curse. Throughout the 20th century, men have succeeded in many aspects of technological change. The past 140 years, a short time in comparison with human history, have brought about some of the most noted technological changes. For instance, 140 years ago, there was no telephone. Photography was still in its infancy. The idea of an automobile was absurd, and the notion that a machine heavier than air could fly was scoffed. But advances in scientific discovery led to many changes in the thoughts and attitudes of humans as to what technology meant to changing society. But, somehow, this advancement in human achievement is sometimes viewed with scorn by some of the wisest among us. Has these advancements improved our lives, or just changed the nature of the problems we face?

It is important to understand that the luxuries of yesterday somehow seem to become the necessities of today. Hot and cold running water, the in-house bathroom, the telephone, the television – these were all considered luxuries at one time. But now, they are deemed as necessities by many in society. They can't be appreciated properly unless one was to view societies where these items do not exist, or their existence is scorned. In modern times, we tend to "work to eat," and "eat to work." It becomes a never-ending cycle that traps modern western societies into thinking that this is the ordinary. But in many other...
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