In my opinion technology has advanced faster than humanity is mentally capable of dealing with. It was not long after the trade with China started, that black powder used in China only for fireworks, came in the hands of traders. It did not take that long before the armies and navies of Western European Nations had muskets and canons and the time of colonization had begun. I don’t think we have changed that much.
Black powder gave traders and colonizers the upper hand then and nuclear power gave the U.S. the upper hand as soon as Einstein made it possible to split atoms. The use of atom bombs as used in Japan indiscriminately killed thousands of people and all that lives, be they old or young and created many very deformed babies as an aftermath. The use of such weaponry is a criminal act as far as I am concerned.
Not really knowing how to store nuclear waste plus the devastating accidents in Chernobyl and Japan and the near accident in the States shows that we are using a power we can not control.
We now know what the use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer have done and still is doing to our environment. Lake Winnipeg one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world is now being poisoned by phosphor, an ingredient in fertilizers that comes from large farms as much as 130 km away. It has created an algae that is so poisonous it will kill fish, animals and humans.
These are just a couple of examples where the use of technology has not been properly tested over time and is still being pushed by the producers, despite the dire consequences.
The other question is what is this very rapid advancement of technology doing to our society? I think our homes have now become the centre of our lives where we live with less and less social or outside contact. We watch movies, listen to music, stay in contact with the outside by phone and computer. The computer also makes it possible to shop, vote, file, send pictures and use visual communication via facebook and all that is possible without leaving home. The unfortunate part is that social contact with the outside world has become less as technology progressed.
An evening out used to be go for dinner and to a movie, now it is select a channel on TV and pop some health food in the microwave. In cities, neighbours in apartment blocks or condos are somewhat familiar faces in the elevator and in suburbs they are a wave to the person mowing the lawn next door. The down side of this isolation process is that since the vast majority of the media, be it TV, radio, newspapers or magazines, is corporate owned and the bottom line showing a healthy profit is the main concern if not the only one. The scary part is that what we see, hear or read is what the corporate sector allows or wants us to see, hear or read. It only takes watching the world news on TV for a bit to note that people the world over are dressed the same, T shirts and jeans and walking with cell phones to their ears while listening to adaptations of rock music.
Advertising is everywhere in schools, on and in public transportation, along highways, on radio, TV and magazines, wherever there is an opening. Advertising coupled with technology is making this world a homogenized place ruled by the richest five per cent of the population.
Bert de Vink’s a long-time Quesnel resident who wrote for the Cariboo Observer from the mid 80’s to the late 90’s. The Observer is pleased de Vink once again decided to put pen to paper.