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Sunday, January 29, 2012


Technology appears to be one of the defining attributes of the 21st century. Technology is ubiquitous. We live in a techno-environment. It can be found in almost every aspect of our lives. The prevalence of technology is growing exponentially and brings a number of advantages to our lives. From the accuracy of clocks, to efficiency of engines, to the mobility of mass communication, to the consumption of information through electronic journalism, to entertainment in our homes and on-the-go. Things are being replaced by technology. Machines are replacing workers, stores are now E-commerce, and mail is now electronic.

There is a mainstream acceptance of technology; a minority that praise technology as our savior, critical skeptics that argue technology is making our condition worse, and everyone in between. Largely our attitude towards technology is determined by our attitudes towards the specific form of technology and its effect on that aspect of our life. For example, someone might praise biotechnology that creates a cure for a disease that they have. And anti-capitalists might hate security cameras that monitor workers.

As technology becomes normal to us, what happens to us as individuals when it is no longer a novel thing? I think we forget what it means to be natural. We no longer co-exist with nature, we are now exploiting it. Can nature and technology exist together?

We typically think of technology as being electronic.

We are able to return to nature any time we want. But we have destroyed nature to the point that we can't really return. Is a hyper-techno-environment inevitable? Are we on a path to becoming severed from nature completely?

Our relationship to nature is a yearly trip to the snow, or an annual hike up a mountain, or to a campsite for the weekend.

But we have this inherent idea that nature is good, and a techno-environment is bad. But can a techno-environment be good? I can certainly see how living in nature could be bad. If we lived under a tyrant then nature would not necessarily be better. So the quality (good/bad) of an environment is determined not solely on the setting but by the conditions and relationships between people living in those environments. The emotions one ascribes to entities such as nature are socially constructed. nature as a positive space, techno-environments as negative spaces are arguably constructed by our interaction and interpretation of those environments. Arguing for a return to nature is a subjective argument that is based on the social conditions and interpersonal relationships within a society, and how one interprets them. Feelings of good or bad associated with an environment are not intrinsic qualities of those environments but are created by the values we give them.

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