To Victor, protagonist of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein, the idea of recreating and reanimating a dead body is enthralling. Yet, once Victor turns this intangible idea into a reality, he soon realizes his lack of foresight and he runs away with disgust, leaving behind not only his creation, but also his conscience. And soon, what was once a brilliant creation turns into the horrible beast of Frankenstein. Although we may be far away in time, reality, and space from this science fiction tale, Frankenstein is still in our lives. Technology, with its plethora of unintended and perhaps even unknown consequences, is the Frankenstein of our times.
Technological breakthroughs enter our world faster and faster with each passing minute. We do not even get to fully evaluate the repercussions they may have on our lives before, like Frankenstein, these breakthroughs overtake the very essence of human life. I believe that our lives are often controlled by what are seemingly inanimate objects. Teenagers can be seen living life with only one ear; that is, with an iPod ear bud super glued in the other for eternity. Businessmen become annoyed with their own children who want them to be more than stoic swing pushers consumed by blue tooths and incessant phone calls. And, one may base the mood of some teenage girls on the number of text messages she received that day. It is time that we step back and realize the holistic implications of the rampant spread of technology.
Many believe that technology has enhanced social networking and personal connection greatly. But, I believe that this is wrong. Instead, the “convenience” of technology has deterred many individuals from taking the effort to meet in person. Facebook deems itself “a social utility that connects you to the people around you.” Do shallow comments on pictures and a quick “happy birthday” message on someone’s “wall” really entail connection? Facebook is a good tool if used effectively, but it can never be a substitute for face-to-face contact. The rampant spread of technology has competed with the invaluable nature of personal connection.
When I attempt to say “Hi” to the kid sitting next to me on the bus, once the motion of lips is processed, as no noise can be heard through the iPod earbuds, I am faced with a befuddled expression. I guess its unusual now to speak to the person right next to you on a bus when each of you could be consumed by technology instead. Yet, I believe it is vital to overcome this pervasiveness of technology. We must, by all means, reap the numerous benefits offered by technology. But, we should not let its adverse implications stab our backs like Frankenstein did to his own creator. We must not forget that we are humans; and a living, breathing, feeling creature is significantly more important than a stoic machine with microchips, buttons, and etchings. I believe in the preservation of personal connection as the fundamental experience of human life. This I believe.
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