Blogpost # 861                         TECHNOLOGY, A “DOUBLE- EDGED” SWORD

For the intended purpose of emphasis, we shall offend the most basic, stylistic rule and etiquette, relevant to essay writing, by revealing our conclusion at the very outset: The theme and conclusion of this writing, is that humanity has suffered noticeable fallout, social and anthropological, from its attempts to substitute technology for “community.”

Followers of this blogspace are by now, aware of our consistent, opposition to the substitution of smart phone communication, for person to person, and telephone interaction. We have consistently (perhaps in vain) warned of the perceived detriment to the quality and nature of human relationships, and, as a consequence, to the functioning of society. The cold and inexpressive impersonality of the receipt of digitalized symbols, or letters, on a small, hand- held screen, to be viewed at some future time, is a far cry from, and no reasonable substitute for, the timely responsiveness and the comforting and expressive sound of a familiarly, nuanced voice.

Further, it is our view, that the ultimate effect of the universal, widespread, substitution of electronic convenience, in general, for human behavior, albeit, efficient and convenient, has the ironic, unforeseen result societally, and anthropologically, of atavistic regression.

The empirical morphing to technology, to our perception, had a ubiquitously, deleterious, impact upon man’s societal life, fundamentally, even beyond effective, impairment of the value and esthetics of conversation, by way of his election of hand-held, electronic appliances (in lieu of personal conversation). It may be perceived  that, in general, the election of modern and exponentially, improved developments in facilitating the performance of Man’s tasks, has resulted, unforeseeably, to a visible, atavistic and backward, anthropological development. We will, (if reader patience permits) attempt to explain our seemingly, contradictory, and logical, conundrum by historical example.

The physical development of the Homo sapiens, in prehistoric days, was exemplified by his evolved, upright stature, together with its concomitant, anatomical and physical improvements (ex., walking) and his ability to view distances for enhancement of food gathering and defense. The earlier development of Man’s opposable thumb, carried with it, an improved natural facility for the development of creative tool making as well as the performance of diversified manual tasks, as directed by his evolving and improving brain.

At some point in time, he, discovered, that, as compared with the vicissitudes of living a lonely, insular and precarious life, it was, comparatively, advantageous to live in tribal society, for reasons of survival and social interaction. Such insular tribal groups grew, in time, first, to communal living with other tribes, to larger, City-States and then to Nations.

Traveling by our literary time machine to the modern era, we would, examine mankind from the aspect of his plethora of technological advances over his early ancestors, and note an easily, discernable, and quite disturbing, impact of all of his highly bruited, modern technological marvels.

It appears, no less than, dystopic to us, to observe the great mass of humanity on crowded, metropolitan sidewalks, some going home, some to school, some to work, some to market, but all, in unison, eerily, bent over and, in their style of synchronized walking, gazing downward at one of their hands in which a smartphone is held. This dystopic sight reveals the mass of, previously (since prehistory) upright standing, Homo sapiens, now, uniformly, round shouldered and looking down at a hand held small box (smartphone), (except, defensively, for traffic) and entirely, enthralled in such activity. Few, or none, choose to avert their eyes from their cell phone, in their intensely, focused, concentration, in order to smile, say hello, or to view the multitude of others, similarly engaged, bent over and environmentally, blind.

At many Thanksgiving dinners and generally, at family meals, how many of our young are oblivious to everything and everyone, outside the parameters of their active, hand held phone, often, surreptitiously held, just below the surface of the table. How many travelers or commuters sit or stand, in rapt concentration on their smartphone, rather than looking out of the window at the fast- moving scene, or at the conveyance, itself, or at the fellow passengers; how many, in reality, are reading or speaking to another passenger?

How many people, at public parks, concerts, places of assembly, classrooms, libraries, museums, meetings, places of worship, at lunch or dinner, at the sports arena, at the neighbor’s home, in automobiles, curbside and highway, at computerized books, are oblivious to their present surroundings, while, instead, looking downward, at their captivating, and life diverting, cell phones.

Looking down (in contrast to the evolved, upright Homo sapiens) appears to be the latest, evolved iteration of boney architecture for modern man, and we deplore it. Technology has triumphed even over evolution, (sorry, Mr. Darwin).

Can one possibly, compare, such lone and insular, behavior to the many benefits of walks with friends, picnics, joint movie going, personal interaction, visiting parks and libraries, exchanging points of view (“likes” on Face book, are as personally insignificant, as the FB designation of “friends,”) going shopping, dining out, and the like; all of which are done in an observably, anatomically, upright posture, and do not mandate downward gazing, like prehistoric Man.

We also express, with equal dismay, regarding the marvelous evolution of Man’s, advanced, utilitarian thumb, which, shamefully, and heretically, has in contemporary times, been relegated, simply, to the all-important utility, of selecting “apps,” or for hurried electronic texting, on cell phones

By the way, whatever happened, to our favorite fountain pen?

-p.

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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