Technology Isn’t Bad For Us

Flickr / Tom Taker
Flickr / Tom Taker

Occasionally the topic will come up of technology and globalization, and whether these things are good and/or natural.

The conversation always evolves along the same thread of the centralization of world power, the ever increasing pervasiveness of technology into human life, and the blurring lines between what it means to be an American, or African, or Chinese, or this or that.

My response is always the same: that globalization in its purest denotative form (to globally integrate) is a natural step in our human history.

The centralization of government and economics is only a threat if those in power are not to be trusted. The important thing is to transform the system that allows the untrustworthy to wield power destructively when it could very easily be done constructively.

I often find myself reminding people that technology is not an entity with an agenda. It’s a tool devised by man and used according to man’s will. A common analogy is with a basic example: the hammer. At one point, a cutting edge piece of technology, when it came into being, once assimilated, it transformed livelihood and culture. Using that example no one would assume that hammers are evil or to be mistrusted. iPhones, the Internet, satellites, television, etc are tools that are transforming culture, but they are TOOLS of man’s design, to be wielded as he sees fit. To that end, modern technology can (and is) used for less than noble purposes, but it also can (and is!) used to save lives and improve hampered existences. Following the analogy mentioned before, it’s the difference between deciding to use a hammer to bash someone’s skull in, or deciding to build a house.

We can’t forget our cultural identities, but often times, it’s used to keep us where we are, instead of being used as a stepping stone to what we may become. It’s too common a point of contention whether someone or some people are this that or the other thing. Too much importance is placed on American vs. Iranian, Christian vs. Muslim, man vs. woman, and not enough importance placed on the common factor of humanity. It must be stated that usually those in power are quick to point out people as being “other” in such a coarse way.

It’s vital that we understand our varied cultural experiences so that we may learn about ourselves as a species. This includes our breathtaking ability to murder and enslave in ever more imaginative ways.

The common thread of all these misgivings is a fear, not of our progress, but of ourselves. That, with our abilities inching closer to godliness, we are demons.

At the end of the day, we have to come to terms with the fact that technology isn’t bad for us. We might just be bad for ourselves. TC mark

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