Sunday, May 29, 2011

Technology is a Many Headed Beast

Photo by: Witchfinder9
Technology is a many headed beast; a hydra of sorts. It has given us the ability to walk on the moon, to explore the depths of our greatest oceans, to climb the peaks of our highest mountain ranges, and to tame some of the most insidious diseases that have plagued our civilizations. It has also highlighted man’s weakest flaws: greed, narcissism, and arrogance. If history has taught us anything, it is that technology cannot save man from himself, and technology will be the doom of mankind if we do not tread lightly and change our ways.

One only needs to look at our ancient ancestors to comprehend this message. There have been many civilizations that have come before us that were ripe with technology: the Greeks, Romans, Mayans, Incans, and Egyptians. Where are they now? Relinquished to the curiosities of archaeologists and history books, there mighty presence is no more. Technology did not save these once powerful and technologically advanced civilizations; are we so arrogant as to think we will not suffer the same fate as them?

If one were to read the admonition offered up to us in Rachel Louise Carson’s article “The Obligation to Endure,” the warning signs are already there. According to Carson, with the advancement of technology that we posses today, now more than ever man has “the power to alter the nature of his world." The one advancement, or curse, that we have over our ancestors is that we now have possession and knowledge of nuclear power; but this has not come with a hefty price tag. Carson delivers a foreboding example of the destructive power of the waste of nuclear fallout in the form of Strontium 90, a deadly compound that seeps into the core of our bones and into our soils and waters systems, forever a reminder of its destructive power.

We can see these degenerative results even if we were to only look at what has befallen the family of author Terry Tempest Williams. In her article “The Clan of the One-Breasted Women” see recounts how she has lost several women in her family to breast cancer as a direct result of nuclear testing that took place above ground in the 1960’s near her hometown in Utah.

As an example of how advanced our ancestors were, the Mayan people possessed a calendar system so accurate it is equal to what we posses today. Interestingly enough their calendar stops in December of 2012. Did the Mayans leave a prophetic message behind? Chief Seattle summed up man’s predicament quite well in his letter to President Pierce in 1855, when he said, “Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste."

Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

What do you think? Is Chief Seattle right? 

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