Friday, December 09, 2011

Does Technological Advancement Lead to Advancement of Human Civilization?

It's really no wonder that we consider ourselves evolved. What with the amazing technological advancements and the unprecedented material progress of Western civilization; how could one think otherwise?

But before the modern era, technological advancement was slow and new discoveries were rare. Cultures changed so slowly that it was barely noticeable. Without having witnessed any significant change or even being able to imagine how change might happen, people formed the impression that the world would remain more or less the same.

Rarely, when change did occur, especially if that change included advances in comfort, knowledge, beauty, or involved profit, people began to think civilization was was evolving. But is it really?

Take the use of radioactive materials in cosmetics that dates back to the 1920-30s.  It is a good example of the what can go wrong when any industry jumps on the bandwagon of a scientific advance too soon. Despite this, and other technological "advances" that proved detrimental to life, the role of science in industry exponentially increased. 

Zapped with radioactive dust that was supposed to have been 100% safe.

Moreover, during this same time period - the twentieth century - we murdered more human beings than during the nineteen centuries that led up to this age.  Could it be the more technologically advanced we become, the more deadly we become?

"We are close to dead. There are faces and bodies like gorged maggots on the dance floor, on the highway, in the city, in the stadium; they are a host of chemical machines who swallow the product of chemical factories, aspirin, preservatives, stimulant, relaxant, and breathe out their chemical wastes into a polluted air. The sense of a long last night over civilization is back again".- Norman Mailer


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