Technologically Man is a Giant, Morally a Pygmy

Latrina M. Midkiff

Technologically man has made tremendous advancements. From humble beginnings last century with the Industrial Revolution we have come to the stage where we have invented and built so many gadgets that our very existence is threatened by them, like the atomic bomb.

We cannot deny that technology has improved the quality of our lives immeasurably. A journey to anywhere on the globe now takes merely a few hours by airplane, whereas it may have taken many years to do so before. We communicate with one another with increased ease and efficiency. All it takes is the pressing on a few buttons and we are able to talk to anyone almost anywhere in the world. A flick of the television switch gives us news, sports, and entertainment in glorious color. Modern methods of cooking do not leave dirty messes behind. For the even more lazy ones, fast-foods are always available, some twenty four hours a day.

Modern computers have infiltrated into all aspects of business, governments and even at home. City traffic is also computer-controlled. So it is too with many other things where computers are virtually indispensable. Computer breakdown means also the breakdown of whatever system it controls. The computer has become almost all-powerful. Such is our dependence on it.

In war, our technological expertise has given us super-efficient weapons. Instead of swords and spears, we now have machine-guns, heat seeking missiles, cruise missiles, jet-fighters and other tools of murder and mayhem. Our ability to kill and destroy is frightening. We have become so powerful that the possibility of killing ourselves completely is very real indeed.

It is in the light of this possibility of self-annihilation that we suddently find ourselves most vulnerable and wanting. While we go about creating for ourselves millions of gadgets to fulfill our fancies we have neglected our basic self. We can make machine guns that fire a thousand rounds a minute but we do not take responsibility for our creation. So these guns fall in the hands of terrorists and war-mongers. What is the result? Death and destruction on an unprecedented scale now ravage the people of this earth. Few are brave enough to stand up to oppose this scourge. Manufacturers make profits from weapons. Armies use them to destroy one another but hardly anybody does anything to stop it.

We let our creations run riot. In the name of class, creed and religion we plunder one another with the most powerful weapons available. We kill innocent people without batting an eyelid. Morally we are no better than dumb animals.

In the short span of the first eighty years of this century, we have had two world wars and innumerable other wars. Millions have died as a result. Yet the wars go on, unabated. Some men stood up against this madness but, like many others before them, were assassinated, pushed aside or simply forgotten. So the majority of us, including the so-called world leaders today, remain quiet and let the violence continue. Some even aggressively perpetuate it.

Industrialization has brought us many benefits. It has also brought about environmental tragedies. Air-pollution, sea-pollution, acid-rain and other forms of threats may one day overwhelm our very existence. Yet few of these polluters are willing to face up to reality and do something concrete to end the pollution. They are more interested in making a profit. They do not want to spend their ‘hard-earned’ money to clean up the environment. Let someone else do the dirty job. Such is their moral responsibility.

In other areas too there are crimes committed against ourselves and mother earth. We reclaim land from the sea, level mountains and blast each other to smithereens. We do not know how to live peacefully and harmoniously with one another. Nobody wants to be responsible for that. We have no moral courage. Einstein once said that we have ‘a perfection of means, but a confusion of ends’. We are capable of great wonders, but we do not know how to wield such capabilities responsibility.

So we continue in our confusion, commit all sorts of crimes and blaming one another for them. It is high time that we assume responsibility for our actions, strengthen our moral courage and make the world a wonderful place to live in.

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