"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her." - Oscar Wilde

***

"Technology never solves a problem without creating another"


A: Hello Everyone,

Recently, I watched the once-famous comic film "The Gods Must Be Crazy" shot in South Africa, featuring San bushmen and exhibiting their ways of life, as compared to the fast-paced life in nearby South African cities like Pretoria and Cape Town.

The film begins with the narrator explaining the bushmen's primitive ways of doing everyday things, like gathering food, hunting, and communication, after which he tells us about their utter lack of any technology whatsoever. We see that these San families and communities live very happily, completely oblivious even of the fact that there are other more advanced civilisations outside their territory.

The narrator then takes us through a busy street in Cape Town, where he points out to us the gadgets and innovations which are being used so often in everyday life that most people don't even realise the fact that they once didn't have such things. But the most interesting part for me was when he said that our modern world is so advanced that the human baby has to take the first "16 years simply to learn the essentials of human life and how to fit into human society." (Cf. The San children who start gathering food and hunting once they start walking.)

I think that though technology has done so much good for us, eased and elevated the standards of our living styles, and saved so many lives through medicine and disaster prevention techniques, we would have been perhaps happier had we remained in a state of ignorance and primitivity, as says the proverb "Ignorance is bliss." Since we would not have even known that there could have been something called an aeroplane or a laptop, we are ipso facto not going to yearn for it or miss it. The San are not aware of outside societies, so they don't miss anything, and this complete lack of desire gives them happiness and satisfaction. I think this is a problem intrinsic to technology. We cannot have technology without having to face its wrath.

Though I'm of Indian parentage, I have lived all my life in Uganda, which is perhaps the quintessential underdeveloped country of the world. The Western influence has not yet pervaded most of the country, so people still proudly retain their ancient practices and ways of life (some of which may be considered a little strange, like cannibalism, religious mutilation and flagellation, black magic, and child sacrifice, to only mention the least offensive). We don't have wireless Internet (in fact even our usual internet is off satellites, not fibre-obtics like here), railways, or even unadulterated tinned food. But on the positive side, we don't have GM foods, pollution, or a breakneck pace of life like here. The Ugandan peasant is happy with his small plot of land which he believes his ancestors have blessed, and tills it from morning till evening, when he goes back to his mudhut and sleeps at sunset (people wake up at sunrise and sleep at sunset, for want of artificial light sources).

By the way, all the above is accurate only in rural Uganda, which is where I've lived. Kampala town is just like any other African town, a little more modern.

To reiterate my point, the Ugandan plebes do not desire the benefits of technology because they are not even aware of them.

I shall end my post here now, but I shall continue using Uganda as an example, since it provides a good vantage point to look at the destructive effects of technology.

Goodbye.

A

(PS: One can discern a similar plot in Night Shyamalam's 'The Village'.)


B: Hey,

I think the example of Uganda is not so relevant to the motion. The motion states that 'technology never solves a problem without creating another', implying that we should be discussing technologies which have already solved problems. As for the example you gave, it is possibly true that 'ignorance is bliss'; However, the society you described has been exposed to little technology, and thus, does not qualify as an example.

Nevertheless, I must say, it's a very refreshing example, really enjoyed reading it!!

B


Me: "we don't have GM foods, pollution, or a breakneck pace of life like here. The Ugandan peasant is happy with his small plot of land which he believes his ancestors have blessed, and tills it from morning till evening, when he goes back to his mudhut and sleeps at sunset (people wake up at sunrise and sleep at sunset, for want of artificial light sources)."

Life expectancy in Uganda is also 51.75 (2007, CIA World Factbook). I don't mind some pollution if I can live 20 years longer.

As for GM food, in a developed country I think even if you buy organic foods you can eat more sumptuously than the Ugandan peasant.

Lastly, it is possible to escape the breakneck pace of life here. You just have to lower your expectations a bit:

"What some people mistake for the high cost of living is really the cost of high living." - Doug Larson


A: Hello B,

I feel that Uganda is still a good example, because it can be considered as an ideal country where technology has not yet shown its evil face. It's only if we have an example of the negative, that the positive can be proven true or untrue. If I were to merely talk about modern countries with a high level of technology, we would have but our imaginations to come up with the opposite case. Here, fortunately, I'm actually able to describe to you an actual example of a situation where technology is largely absent.

Bye.

A


Me: Here is another situation. Here, technology is almost totally absent, so it is an even better example of where technology has not yet shown its evil face:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v14/gssq83/Amusing%20Pictures/notright_1.gif

Back to Uganda, here are some statistics I found:
Life expectancy at birth (years), 2005 - 49
% of infants with low birthweight, 1998-2005 - 12
% of under-fives (1996-2005*) suffering from: underweight, moderate & severe - 23
% of population using improved drinking water sources, 2004, total - 60
% under-fives with suspected pneumonia±, 1999-2005* - 22
Crude death rate, 2005 - 15

Compare them to Singapore, where technology has shown its evil face:
Life expectancy at birth (years), 2005 - 79
% of infants with low birthweight, 1998-2005 - 8
% of under-fives (1996-2005*) suffering from: underweight, moderate & severe - 3
% of population using improved drinking water sources, 2004, total - 100
Crude death rate, 2005 - 5
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes