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Official Post no. 1! - Quid Est Veritas? [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Quid Est Veritas?

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Official Post no. 1! [Jun. 29th, 2006|12:33 pm]
Quid Est Veritas?



While I'm blustering about trying to get this thing running and all the people members who should be, I'll post Racho's question: is technology a powerful good or a force of evil?

It seems a simple question, but I think we can get a good deal more out of it than first glance would indicate. 

To start things off, I'll give my view:
Technology is undoubtedly a good, but like many good things it has a double edge. Technology helps us communicate; it improves our lives; it protects us; and it does a multitude of other good things which I'm sure everyone can think of and about which there is no further reason for me to ramble. But what are the drawbacks? Sure, technology has also made the world a more dangerous place (eg nuclear weapons, or even guns), but I am more interested in the human aspect: technology has altered man's perception of war, learning, and life itself. ...Let me explain.

War: we've discussed this a little before, but I'll bring it up again. Before the advent of bombs (and largely even before guns), warfare was a deeply personal affair: combat was hand-to-hand, man-to-man. You practically looked in the eyes of your enemy as you killed him. Enter machine guns, bombs, airplane guns: warfare is no longer about people. You drop the explosive from half a mile up--and never see death clouding the eyes of your enemies. You are not taking human life; you are just dropping a thing which moments later puffs up smoke. Human life is despensable; you are not saving your own life by killing someone else--you are just killing someone else. Multitudes, actually. ...

Learning: technology is "dumbing" down our culture. There was a time when words mattered, when it was important to know how to speak, write, and generally express oneself intelligently. In writing, you only had one chance to get it right, or the whole thing was ruined and you had to start over again. There was no "backspace" function in letter-writing. Now, however, there is no necessity to be able to quickly and intelligently gather your thoughts and present your view. Carelessness is permissible because it is so dangerously easy to remedy. Also, in an age when we need to communicate instantly, it's far to difficult to bother actually spelling a word out: "how r u?" is SO much easier than anything more educated.

But there is another powerful way in which I think that technology is dumbing down the culture: VIDEO GAMES. I know this will strike a sour chord with many of you,but this issue frustrates me to no end and I WILL discuss it. Face it, before the advent of those hideous, mind-numbing contraptions, what were the possible pasttimes? --reading books, taking walks, talking with people. But now the ranks of the modern generations have secluded themselves in a new world: and the tragedy is, it's a world from which nothing is gained. It's this that bothers me more than all else. When you read a book (at least a good one), you come away from it with anything from thoughts of character development to new words (and what can equal the joy of stumbling upon a jewel like "recalcitrant" or "obsequious?"). Granted, some books are more for entertainment than moralizing (I consider Sherlock Holmes, for example, to be my own version of "video games" in that it fits within the "amusement" genre); but even from these something may be gained (eg in Sherlock Holmes I may not come away thinking of the good, but I will at least be having thought processes which may mirror the layout or plot of the stories; and I will have new characters to people my imagination, about which I can think; the point is, *I AM THINKING*). But when you come away from a video game, what have you brought with you? I ask again: What? 
...arrg. Why did I get myself started on this? My spleen is rising, I tell you. It angers me that intelligent people waste their lives in fake battles, or fake housekeeping, or whatever. What do they learn of real courage, or love, or truth or anything? What can be gained from this pseudo-world in which everything is controlled by the person playing the game? Of course, it's fun--it's amusement! Now let us bring flooding down upon us Mr. Vierra's famous breakdown of A-MUSE! As humans, don't we have a *responsibility* to be more than merely amused?

*deep breath* ok. enough on that topic for now. ^_^

In more general terms: we live in a culture which expects everything to be instantaneous. It's a culture of impatience, of incessant bustling about and continuous motion. In short, it's a culture of technology. What with cars, computers, cell phones, radios, and just about anything that will help you to do faster whatever it is that you're doing, our life is lived at a constantly accelerated pace. 
But as we zip past archaic barriers of space and time, are we zipping past our own lives as well? Technology is good, but we must use it well. Is being married to it a responsible use? Have we spent our lives glued to our technological gadgets--at the expense of everything human? 

I will leave it to you to decide. 


[User Picture]From: x_blackknight_x
2006-06-30 12:20 am (UTC)

Response #1

There are a few points which I would like to comment on.

Yes, I am in agreement with you on this. With all the very long range weapons we have nowadays, it's so easy to press a button and send hundreds to their death. I'm sure some people wrestle with their conscience because they know that, even though they didn't see them, their enemies (and sometimes innocent civilians) died. But I think it would be easier to push that thought - that they were breathing, living humans who loved and were loved and you just ended their life - away from your mind. At least in older days (even the War of Independence, I think) you had to deal with it on a more human level.


a) I am in total agreement with you. You just have to check my friend's list on lj (grammar_nazis) to know what my stance is on the "c u l8r" and "lol!1!" thing. There is a HUGE difference between a typo and a purposeful dumbing-down of a word.
b) Why did you take a stab at video games (whose value I will discuss in a minute) but forget a bigger (and, in my opinion, more dangerous and mind-numbing) culprit: Television?
At least with most video games, there is some amount of thinking and strategizing involved and so therefore one is using, to some extent, their brain cells. But TV is the ultimate waste. One just sits...and sits...and sits and just lets their mind shut off. There is even the cliched excuse "I just want to watch TV and not think". And when coupled with the many, many ridiculous and stupid shows on (do we really need Survivor season 11?), that, in my opinion, is technology at its dumbest. Now I admit I watch a little TV, so I'm at fault a little and my brain is probably rotting because of it, but I'm way below the national average, which is something like 4 or 5 hours a day, I believe.* I basically only sit and watch TV if I know something is on that I like, unlike those who come home and flip through channels to see what is on that is most appealing.
c) Okay, here is my thing with video games. I play video games fairly often, having 2 game systems in my house. I disagree with you slightly that you take nothing away from it. For one thing, I have played several of those "_____ grade adventure game", in which you have to actually do math and think. So those kindof games do give you practice on critical skills.
While I don't really like 1st person shooters, some would argue (and I would agree), that they take away reflexes from the game. Did you know that people who play video games are less likely to get in a car accident than people who don't play video games?*
And the games I do prefer-strategy games-are just that: strategy. I believe they do have value in sharpening your strategy skills and your ability to plan ahead.
Don't get me wrong. I do see the flaws in video games, mainly that there are more beneficial and worthwhile things to do and you probably should living your life instead of someone else's. But as long as you have that love of actual learning and reading and doing real things, I don't see why you can't spend a little time playing video games. (Now if video games was your entire life, I would worry)

In regards to the general terms:
I agree with you one hundred percent. We do tend to expect things to be instantaneous in this day and age. Life goes by so quickly as it is, can't we just sit and take our time talking instead of waiting for a short text message (again, guilty of that) that is devoid of emotion? (the "lol" *shudder* Don't get me started on that) People, I think, are more friendly if they aren't hurried. In fact, I was watching an interview with Kristen Chenoweth (Glinda in Wicked) and she was commenting how different Oklahoma -where she grew up- and New York were. People are always in a hurry and crabby in New York and in Oklahoma, people took their time and were friendly.

Alright, I think I'm finished, so critique and discuss away.

*Okay, so I don't have actual citations. But if you really, really want them, I'll look them up.
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[User Picture]From: pemberlybudgie
2006-07-07 02:44 pm (UTC)
Hooookay Racho. I'm finally responding ^_^.

b)ahhhhh. *shudder* TV. Alas, I was blind enough to forget to hurl my vitriolic temper at that wretched institution, but I will not make the same mistake again. I agree with you completely. I personally have always detested watching TV for the simple reason that when I was done, I always felt like I had wasted my time. And I had. It catches you with plot twists or whatever, and then you're stuck watching show after show after show, wasting your life....arggg. *fume* well, I think y'all now know my thoughts on THAT subject.

c) video games. I'll give you this: some video games might improve mathematical skills. But is that really a good reason to use all one's free time playing them (when a lot of them do nothing for your math?)
reflexes: arg. the old Cunningham argument. All I can say is: there are a lot better ways to improve your reflexes than enslaving yourself to a pseudo-world.
Strategy games: okay. you have me here. Though I still wouldn't condone extensive playing of strategy games, I will admit that *if* played for a limited amount of time, they might be *Mr. Collins voice* an innocent enough diversion (especially for a clergyman). *back to normal voice* The thing is, I have seen firsthand how video games can suck a person in until all their good intentions of only playing for a little while are swept away in the impersonal wind and they are CONSUMED. ...yes. dramatic isn't it?
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[User Picture]From: x_blackknight_x
2006-07-07 10:10 pm (UTC)
Where is the "a"?

c) That is true. Video games are very addicting. So you have to control it, and *ominous voice* not let it control you.

So, I suppose unless someone else responds with a different view, then we have completed our discussion, no?
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[User Picture]From: pemberlybudgie
2006-07-08 09:12 pm (UTC)
I don't like a's. In fact I'm extremely suspicious of them. They took all the teapots, after all. Actually I'm taking the a out of my name. Now I'm Jessic. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: x_blackknight_x
2006-07-10 03:59 am (UTC)
Sounds Celtic almost, I think.
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