Technology has been shaping human development and even our personal everyday lives for thousands of years. Since the first of our ancestors picked up a rock or stick for the first time to break open a nut or what have you, technology has shaped our existence.
For many people, this is an all too real weight on their conscience. The burden of knowing how much they are dependent on their “things” can be depressing to some, and possibly even overwhelming to others.
It is the knowledge that if you didn’t have the things that we have grown so accustomed to using, you would be unable to live a normal life. Maybe instead it is the realization that there are people who must live like that every day.
We (as in, those of us who live in a wealthy nation) are blessed with the freedom of not having to worry about our survival essentially ever. We can happily fill our time with things we enjoy such as playing with an Intertops casino bonus, reading books, or watching TV.
But, this excess of time has not had only positive effects on our lives. For many people, they might be finding their lives of excess and freedom to be loathsome. Or, perhaps they still feel they are bound to servitude of a job they hate, despite the other freedoms life offers them.
Our modern first world wealthy country lives have made us take for granted things which, up until very recently, were things that would have taken a lot of blood sweat, and tears in order to get or do.
Think about the little things in your life that, up until about the past 50 years or so, had to be done by hand. Those loaves of bread you buy at the grocery store for a couple of dollars to make sandwiches with. The water you guzzle freely on demand with the flick of a valve.
The unlimited library of knowledge you hold in your pocket that allows you to learn whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want.
You could learn quantum physics while going to the bathroom, or great works of literature and philosophy with your morning cereal. The only barrier to our education nowadays is our motivation and time.
Yet, machines and things aid us in more ways than just our ability to improve ourselves. We are now able to delegate more and more tasks to the things we make, rather than to ourselves.
I am not going to tell you this is a bad thing. I will never say that the advancement of our technology is a bad thing. Everything has bad aspects, but the ways our lives have been improved by our ingenuity far outweigh the ways in which they are diminished.
Technology On a Grand Scale
I am not going to be making a list of the greatest or most important technological advances in human history. Others have done this with far more knowledge and skill than I probably could.
Instead, I only wish to talk about some of the ways technology shapes our lives as they are now. Some things you may not have thought about.
To write about something that could help you realize how much we rely on our things. I hope to help you be more appreciative of those things. What great things they are after all!
Technology has shaped humanity on a grand scale in ways that you can see by simply looking out your window. Or, maybe taking a short walk or drive around your neighborhood.
First of all, driving. Cars. Roads. Bridges. Traffic Lights, signs, crosswalks, roundabouts, parking lots, and car garages. Cars are the dominant species on the planet. See how “others” see us and our car obsession:
Humans build cities around cars. We build infrastructure around cars. We bore through mountains, fill in valleys, and flatten forest for cars. The simple ability to easily transport where we want to go.
Throughout history, humans have been forced to live in areas where their necessities were because they couldn’t really be brought to them. It took too long or was too hard, or too dangerous.
Nowadays, we can essentially go where we like, and do as we please. You no longer need to live by a river and the farmland. You can now have your food, water, and other necessities easily brought to you. Free shipping and all.
Traveling hundreds, or even thousands of miles is no longer considered a life threatening journey that could lead to disease, fear of death, or simply disappearing from the face of the Earth to never be found again.
We live off of the reliance on trucks, trains, and planes being able to bring us food. Food that not so long ago, would have taken up the better part of a person’s life to grow and maintain for sustenance.
I am focusing so much on food as it is a basic requirement for human life that we can simply take for granted. I, and I assume most others that are currently reading this, aren’t scared that they are going to starve to death.
Food is simply no longer a worry on many peoples’ minds anymore. Sure, there are still poor and homeless people that need to fear for their food and water, but that isn’t most people.
And even those people have options. There is so much abundance, that charity and food drives are becoming more and more common. Food is cheap, and we can produce a lot of it to feed a lot of people.
Sure, people can complain or worry about the quality of food they buy or eat. Yet they still are not afraid of starvation. There will be food for them if they need it. Even if it is just a simple meal.
Day In, and Day Out
Not only has technology prevented us from worrying about if we can get food, but it also allows us to horde the food we already have for longer.
Preservation of food is something that humans have been perfecting for thousands of years. From drying and salting to more modern practices like keeping food cold (iceboxes and refrigerators), how long we can keep our food for is important.
It means that we don’t need to buy food as often, or in the days when people made their own food, they had to worry about the only food they had spoiling.
With modern preservatives, refrigerators, freezers, canning, and drying processes, we don’t really need to worry about our food going bad for days, if not weeks, months, or years!
Now, instead of having to run to the market every day to make meals, you can groggily roll out of bed in the morning and pull whatever form of cooked or dried grains (cereal, granola, oatmeal) you like out of your cabinet for breakfast.
The same goes for lunch and dinner. You can crack open a can of tuna and tear off some lettuce from your fridge for lunch, and take a cut of chicken out of your freezer for dinner.
Slap it between two slices of conditioned bread that doesn’t go stale in a day, and you have yourself a decent meal. And, of course, you can also pour yourself a glass of water from the tap and put in some ice cubes from your freezer.
Ice cubes, which once were a luxury of kings are now common amongst even the lower classes of modern society.
There are many many more ways in which the technologies that are found in our everyday lives have shaped and changed those lives. However, I hope these two examples, which are in actuality one, will at least start your thinking.
What necessities of yours are not even something you have to think about anymore? Do you take for granted what others cannot afford to ignore?