Humanity And Technology

Are you not surprised by how fast technology has robbed us of our regular nuisances and even activities that we actually need to be considered as social beings?

During my time, which was not too long ago, we do not have these high-tech appliances, gaming consoles, portable gadgets and other electronics which make life so easy for the youth of today. We had it hard and labouros instead.

I always tell my daughter whenever she breaks out in rants and complaints about how hard her assignments were or how difficult to complete a certain task, about my generation and how we did things back then. I would always brag that her generation would never last a “second” in my generation. And why is that? Here are some reasons why:

Completing a certain project entailed a lot of hard work, plenty of “cartolina” and art papers and colored pencils and starch paste and tons of creativity. We did not have smart boards to present our presentations. We used papers glued together to make big poster-size murals or presentations.

When we need to research on a subject matter, we had to either ask our parents to drive us to the public library which was kilometres away. And when we reach the library, the work was just about to begin. First we would go to the index catalogue area where long tables with cabinets consisting of tiny drawers, the size of a 5×6 index cards were kept. They were arranged alphabetically and coded so we would write the codes down and proceed to the place or floor where the shelf was located. And once we find the shelf, the work did not stop there. We had to search from the top rack down or vice-versa or check on the tiny codes written on the spine of the books. We were lucky if the books were arranged accordingly but it was like finding needle in a haystack. Then we had to write down our research on pads of papers. Our simple assignment or report would require 8 to 16 man-hours to complete with so many books to read and notes to write.  Now, kids have computers as early as 1! I had my first computer when I was about to graduate in college and even then, it was still the big and chunky monitor with green or orange fonts on the screen. The youth of today could easily get the answers to their topics at the tip of their fingertips. And yet, they still complain!

If we wanted to see, play or even talk to our friends, we practically have to lift our butts off the chair, reach for the door,  open the gates and walk! Yes, we walked all the time, most of the time that was why we barely got sick then. We were fit as early as 1 year old! We would go to our friends’ houses, rang their doorbells and ask their parents if we could play in the nearby playground. Back then, safety was not a concern because kids were treated as kids. We could play non-stop until late afternoon and we were safe. If you belong to the middle class or rich families then you could call your friend and chit chat. Only few had phones then. We had our phone installed when I was about 8.

We were active bunch of kids. We rode the bike, climbed trees, did cartwheels on the grassy playground, ran with our pets, walked to school, enjoyed camping, trekked hills, helped our parents and elders with household chores, did our assignments regularly, slept around 7 p.m., watched TV only with the supervision of adults and timed, heard mass regularly, and played, played, played. We had so much fun growing up in the 70s!

Media was not harsh. Not much violence were shown and definitely not much sleazy films were allowed on theaters. These shenanigans only came out in the 90s onwards and since then, everything spiraled out of control. Even small kids these days have been exposed to violence and malicious contents. Kids are being robbed of their innocence. And during our time, we were innocent until way past our teens.

We paid respects to our elders. We would always address them with “sir,” “madame,” or use our Tagalog word “po” at the end of each sentence when talking to our parents and adults.

We wrote long mails to our families and friends who lived far away. We didn’t have this email thing then. We knew every mailman who came and the schedule of their arrival so we would all wait patiently near the gate to greet our friendly mailman.  He would delight on the sight of three smiling kids with some dogs around, waiting for their parcels or letters from favorite family members and friends. What a joy!

We are all God-fearing and we hold that close to our hearts until now. Today’s generation is very diversified with deviant beliefs being thrown on other people’s faith and faces.  It’s not that sacred anymore…

Those are just few of the examples of how it was like living in the 70s. It was fun. It was happy until technology came and changed the symbiosis of life.

I think, Albert Einstein said it best, “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.” Although he said it in connection with the atom bomb he created, it still is relevant to how technology has changed humanity. I just hope it doesn’t make humans devoid of values and faith.

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