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The Dark Side of Technology and the Importance of Books

Jul 24, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jul 24, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Introduction

Technology has made our lives easy and convenient; that is what most people have been made to believe. Change in human life is inevitable and it is most relevant when it betters people’s lives. However, this change makes us raise our eyebrows when people become totally dependent on it from the time we wake up to when we sleep at night. But have people ever tried to think for a moment about the negative effects associated with technology? These effects can be diverse ranging from mental to physical. Technology has resulted in the extinction of our culture and traditions that played an important role in guiding us on how to live with one another in society. These traditions safeguarded our mankind and preserved our humanity. The usage of books is a heritage that has been practiced for centuries.

 

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Books have made it possible for the information to be passed from our ancestors to today’s life, without them this would not have been possible. Books enable us to read the documented studies carried out by intellectuals centuries ago which are relevant in comparison with the same studies being carried out today. This tells us that as much as technology is important, books should retain their value because of the knowledge it passes. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury expresses the ill effects of technology in society and how it controls people’s lives living shallow and without any meaning. This dystopian novel shows us that society should continue to value the use of books in acquiring and exchanging knowledge, ideas, and information found in its rich cultural tradition that promotes literacy among individuals.

In the novel “Fahrenheit 451, books are perceived to be illegal and anyone found with a book lost his/her properties through burning. The main character in the novel named Montag was a fireman who was involved in the burning of books and the owner’s properties. Montag thought that he was living a happy life until he was challenged by a teenage girl. He began to see life from a different perspective. The girl made him realize that he was just burning books without reading its content. “Do you ever read any of the books you burn?” the teenage girl named Clarisse questioned him. She went ahead and challenged him by asking why firemen are starting fire instead of putting it off as it has always been (Bradbury, 4).

Bradbury portrays technology as a bad thing in his novel because it does not improve Montag’s life or society at large (Eid, 1). Technology made people anti-social, no one had time for anyone else but themselves. This was proven right by Clarisse when she saw how different Montag was from other people who never paid attention to whatever she wanted to say. She pointed out that in school people were not talking to one another about anything. They spent hours watching TV, painting, and participating in sports without asking questions.

The use of seashells for listening to music made Mildred (Montag’s wife) detach from her husband. She always had the seashells in her ears. It is her love for technology that gave little time for interaction with her husband (Eid, 1). In part one of the book when Montag was coming from work and found his wife lying on the bed with the seashells in her ears, “and in her ears the little seashells, the thimble radios….” Montag felt detached from his wife when he asked her about how and where they first met but she had forgotten. From this discovery, Montag realized a huge difference after comparing his wife to Clarisse. He wondered how a young could be full of wisdom compared to a much older woman. This difference could have been brought about by the influence of technology. The young read books and were against burning them. On the other hand, Mildred was so dependent on technology for her happiness. He felt that there was a wall between his wife and him.

The mechanical hound was a form of technology that was designed to destroy. It had a four-inch hollow steel needle that injected jolts of morphine or procaine to its victim and left him/her lifeless. This part of the novel shows how harmful technology is no matter the change that it brings to people’s lives. Clarisse is worried that young people are being killed now which never happened before! (Bradbury, 14) Ill effects of technology can lead to death which literally makes it less relevant in human life.

Technology made people in society have the same perspective in life; no one thought differently. This portrays that they lacked knowledge and ideas that they could put together and develop their lives. This was because of not reading books, people felt contented and “happy” in a way that they never talked about issues that surrounded them.

“People don’t talk about anything……They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming-pools mostly and say how swell! But they all say the same things and nobody says any different from anyone else”.

The narrative book of “The Shallows” by Carr describes how technology (especially the internet) is harmful to the brain (Poole, 1). Frequent use of the face a lot of competition from the construction and development companies in the real estate industry. I researched for them from the internet makes people unable to read books which results in loss of humanity altogether. According to Carr, technology has enslaved people; it has taken total control over our lives. People lose self-discipline in front of computers, clicking on unnecessary links. “Research continues to show that people who read linear text comprehend more, remember more and learn more than those who read text peppered with links” (Carr, 43). The author claims that technology is taking human nature away from people letting them rely heavily on it (Poole, 1).

In his book, Nichol talks about the lack of respect for facts and thorough analysis of the sources for the information being passed around. “The Death of Expertise” proves that the relevance of expert opinions is the same as that of uninformed opinion. People are so much attracted to and interested in fake news and propaganda. There is always a very big margin on what people believe and the facts about matters it is so confusing how people choose to stick to what they believe in even when confronted with the facts (Everett, 1). This applies to how Mildred and her friends reacted when they found out that Montag was reading books; according to what they believed, books were illegal and they needed to report him to the authorities (Bradbury, 54).

“Of course there’s also the basic problem that some people just aren’t very bright. And as we’ll see the people who are the most certain about being right, tend to be the people with the least reason to have such self-confidence” (Nichols).

Dweck (1) points out that as we learn and experience new things in our lives the brain change constantly. Many people have a fixed mindset believing that we have a different amount of intelligence. These kinds of people are easily demoralized by challenges unlike people with a growth mindset who always work even harder after a setback (Dweck, 1).

Conclusion

The technology was invented to be of help to people and make life easier. We are the ones who are supposed to manage it and not the other way round. Human beings existed before technology was invented and we survived, it is high time that people should look back and realize what we are missing and what we are getting ourselves into before it is too late. What we should understand is that books will never depreciate because they hold a special position in the process of acquiring information and generation of ideas, passing it from one generation to the other; similar to the saying that goes “old is gold”. People should be bright, diversify, and critically think before being fully dependent on technology.

Work Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. 1st ed., Coles Pub. Co., 1967.

Carr, Nicholas G. The Shallows. W.W. Norton, 2011.

Dweck, Carol S. “NAIS – Brainology”. Nais.Org, 2008, https://www.nais.org/magazine/independent-school/winter-2008/brainology/. Accessed 5 Aug 2018.

Eid, Jaffer. “The Technology And Its Effect In Fahrenheit 451”. Jaffer9.Blogspot.Com, 2014, http://jaffer9.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-technology-and-its-effect-in.html. Accessed 5 Aug 2018.

Everett, Andrew. “The Death Of Expertise”. The Key Point, 2017, https://thekeypoint.org/2017/06/08/the-death-of-expertise/. Accessed 5 Aug 2018.

Nichols, Tom. The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Poole, Steven. “The Shallows: How The Internet Is Changing The Way We Think, Read And Remember By Nicholas Carr | Book Review”. The Guardian, 2010, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/sep/11/shallows-Intervention Programs. BioMed Central Ltd, 2012. internet-changing-way-think. Accessed 5 Aug 2018.

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