Are we loosing more than we’re gaining in this modern world?
I was watching a preview to a show, I think on the Discovery Civilization channel, about how many small and very old cultures are being lost around the world. Now, I haven’t actually seen the show yet, but it started me thinking about what all is disappearing compared to what we’re gaining.
With technology and the world becoming a smaller place, is it indeed a good thing for us and everything else that inhabits the Earth? Don’t get me wrong, there are some wondrous technological advancements that are real positives. Some in the world of medicine, travel, scientific understanding of many natural events, our history, the list goes on and on. The thing that makes me wonder is the idea that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
We can genetically alter plants to produce healthier and more productive strains of grain. The same ground will produce up to 50% more food. The possible problem with this, it also limit’s the genetics around the world of these grains and could result in the collapse of our food supply. If the limited strains of these grains were attacked by an adaptive parasite, mould, disease or virus, without the variety of genetics that existed prior to the genetic engineering, no longer could we just switch to a variety not effected by the attacking organism. Equal and opposite reaction, possibly.
With the Global village becoming more and more a reality in our lives, we are loosing languages around the world at an alarming rate. Many old dialects have disappeared or are in the process of fading away because of the limited number of languages being used to conduct business or just simple communication between people from around the world. Young people don’t see the need to learn their respective cultures old languages because they really won’t use them much in their day to day dealings. They could spend the time better learning something that they will use or benefit them on a daily basis. It is unfortunate that people don’t consider tradition and where they came from as important as learning a new technology. The loss I think far out weighs the benefit of the modern world.
As an addition to the loss of language, we are indeed loosing culture and knowledge as we gain technology. How much ancient knowledge is being cast aside and forgotten about due to new technologies or the lack of understanding of these ancient technologies? Eastern medical practises are looked at by western medicine as little more than tribal witchcraft even though they admit they have very little understanding or taken any real time to understand it. This is true about more than just eastern medicine. What knowledge exists in other places that we are actually ignorant about? With the loss of these cultures due to the shrinking world culture, this could result in many amazing technologies and medical knowledge being lost forever.
It’s funny that so many people around the world are captivated by the search for Atlantis. That legendary place that held knowledge that we don’t have even today. That when Atlantis was destroyed, the survivors scattered around the world and gave their knowledge to the peoples they found. Some surmise that this resulted in the pyramids that are all around the world and many of the similarities we find between cultures from across the globe. It’s curious how we spend so much time, money and intellectual effort looking for knowledge that we as a species already possessed and lost. Even though no one can actually prove for sure that it even existed in the first place. It would be sad if our decedents in a hundred years start looking for the lost civilization or tribe from let’s say Peru that they believe held the cure for cancer or who know what else. The sad part would be that the tribe or civilization exists today, but we disregard it because we view them as primitive. That the young people from the tribe are leaving the old ways because of the allure of the modern world. The knowledge, not passed on and gone for good.
Even the joy of travelling may be diluted by the fact that people and places will start to look very much alike. When you go to Greece or Thailand, what will you see, malls and McDonalds? Eventually the similarities will outweigh the diversity between nations and we will have lost our independence and historical traditions. A sad day that will be.
I’m not really going to get into the discussion of the loss of species. There are those who blame the rise in extinctions on so many factors, it would take far more time then I am willing to commit to this to list them all. I’d just like to say that I believe it’s impossible to dismiss that many technological advancements have not contributed to the loss of species around the globe. With the loss of these species, not only are we losing amazing creatures that will never be seen again, but more of the bio diversity that makes this planet such and amazing and wondrous place.
The world has lost so much bio and cultural diversity in the last hundred years. It’s very difficult to justify it when you look at what and how we use the technological advancements we’ve developed. The world becoming a global village sure seems not to be the best thing for all the stake holders that cling to existence, that includes us. Just look at us on this website, how many people here have ever met and spoken face to face with another member? We’re loosing personal contact with people we even call friends. I hope we someday see past the MP3’s and text messages to rescue what’s so close to being lost to the detriment of our descendants and all the creatures that we share this very special place with.