During the past 60 years America has undergone dramatic social change to adapt to all the new technologies and social medias. Since the advent of high tech gadgetry and easy access to these extraordinary powerful tools the communications revolution puts us conveniently in touch with people and information to the furthest reaches of the earth through the internet. Realistic warlike video games are being constantly created to entertain our children resulting in them no longer going outside to play. Physical and social interactions are quickly eroding into things of the past. Email, smart phones, texting, and tablets are making it possible for us to communicate without ever physically meeting. Social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are starting to replace talking to one another face to face. Digital gadgetry is making life so convenient and easy that we no longer have to use our leg and arm muscles to get things done. All we need is wrist movement and nimble fingers and thumbs. This is the convenience revolution where you can shop on line for anything and have them delivered to your doorsteps or automatically vacuum and wash you floors while you are on your smart phone texting.
But not all has been rosy. The technological revolution has resulted in such rapid social change that a great deal of conflict has resulted because of our inability to appropriately adapt to these relentless changes. Children are growing up lacking in basic social skills. People are sitting in front of their computers or video games instead of interacting. We’ve become lazy sitting couch potatoes gorging on convenience junk foods and consequently neglecting the needs of our physical bodies leading in obesity, diabetes, coronary occlusions, and all manner of poor health. Our bodies were designed for the caveman, not the couch potato. Divorce rates are on the rise and violent crime is becoming more tolerated. Our minds have been dulled by the media and entertainment industries by relentless violence. Technology has made fighting wars and killing people much more efficient and remote controlled. Technology can be much like a drug: it temporarily satisfies your cravings for pleasure but later makes you crave for more. It can be quite dehumanizing by distracting one from more important responsibilities and socially balanced and healthy activities.
We must quickly find ways to balance coping and adapting to these changes with our social, mental, and physical needs or we will become progressively more socially and morally inept and physically deficient. One major problem with these changes is that they are dehumanizing. We are progressively becoming more and more dependent upon technology to fill our lives. It prevents us from expressing our creativity and self worth. It often serves as a distraction from feelings, values, reflections, ideas, and relationships. Thus we feel empty when removed from these devices. Life should be about balance, harmony, self worth, and dreams coming from within, and social interaction, physical activity, and traditional entertainment. After all people are social beings. These amazing digital gadgets can be an asset if utilized as the means of self fulfillment instead of the ends of obsessed preoccupation and stressful and addictive repetitive games.
We must realize that we still have the bodies, hormones and emotional makeup of caveman 20,000 years ago though our brains are intellectually capable of far more. Evolution has not kept pace with technological developments. If the body is not given enough physical exercise or proper nutrition it will be plagued with diseases of deficiencies such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. If our emotional needs are unfulfilled we become stressed out and dysfunctional or seek drugs to make us forget and feel good. There are consequences for not keeping in mind that we are still cavemen. We have grown so sophisticated that we deny our most basic needs of love, stability, self worth, time out, companionship, and physical activity.
The caveman was socially and intellectually crude and simple but likely knew their place and value to society, did essentially the same things generation after generations, and spent time resting, celebrating, and interacting after a big hunt with family and friends. They did not have near the daily stresses as we in daily life or new things to constantly learn. They were in much closer touch with their environment and themselves. The problem is that we basically still have the emotional makeup of our ancestral caveman but the learning abilities of contemporary futureman.
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Ah, when I commented to another blog of yours about morality you recommended I read this one. Thanks, I can see why, and it seems I have found someone with whom I can agree on most things!
I’d just like to put that with respect to technology having had such an impact on the lives of we primitive men, there is light ahead. The fact is that while scientists peer out into the universe and speculate about sub-atomic particles, it is left to engineers to make things that actually work. As a retired engineer I am wholly convinced that our modern technology and modern society is completely dependent upon burning oil, coal and gas. There are no alternatives that do not themselves rely somehow on oil, coal and gas. Q How do you make steel? A. Burn coal. Q How do you make cement? A. Burn gas. Q What do you need to make glass? A. Flames. I could go on ad infinitum. Then someone says “ah, but we will recycle steel”. Oh really? Using an electric furnace? Where will the electricity come from? Windmills? Where do windmills come from? A. steel, cement, glass and polyester. And what are the electric arc furnace electrodes made of? A. Coke! And in any case, recycled steel is such an awful mix of elements that it usually can’t even be used for car bodies … it cracks when forming it into shape. Recycled steel is best used for reinforcing concrete structures or wire fences.
What we call technology is not sustainable because sooner or later we will have used up the raw ingredients it is founded upon. We can look forward to a slow decline into pre-industrial conditions. And to those who place their faith in science fiction all I can say as an engineer is there is no evidence that new technology is waiting like a White Knight just over the horizon to come and save us.
I’ll do my bit in retirement to make things easier for those in future. I will leave to posterity my notes about what is a logarithm and hints on manual calculation. They’ll find these things useful when pocket calculators and computers become a thing of the past.
You and I have much in common. I am also a retired engineer. I also think and write about sustainability and the distant future. Some more suggested articles for you:
Really Clean Nuclear Energy for the Near Future
100 Years from Now: Part 3 – Energy
As a mater of fact you may want to read those parts of “100 Years from Now:…” that interest you. There are 15 part. They are brief, around 500 words each. The emphasis is upon sustainability. I don’t answer all your question but I may answer some you haven’t thought about. If you have any other questions or comments let me know and I’ll point you to other articles. I have written extensively about Global Warming as well. You can also use the “Search within this Blog”. I always enjoy comments and if you like a post click on the Like at the end.
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