When I was a child, my family did not own a car. Getting around was a chore that we often experienced, yet resolve came in various forms, such as family friends with cars, city buses, and taxis. Such modes of transportation made it easier for my family to acquire basic needs like food, clothes, and shelter by paying bills at the proper receiving locations. As time would progress, my family’s ability to efficiently meet its needs became easier and faster. Eventually, some stepped up to the plate and became willing to learn how to drive. That was part of the initial issue.
This same issue appears with various family members embracing what technology has to offer today. Even with some of the modern conveniences like smartphones, the internet, and smart cars, there are those, for one reason or another, who choose not utilize laptops, social media, or the self-checkout lanes at the grocery stores.
A case can be made that the use of technology has become somewhat of a necessity in our culture and around the world. It allows for deeper connections and faster transactions, not to mention increased accessibility to both people and things. Though face time absolutely has its value, can’t there also be value in other means of communication, namely those using technology? Some simply do not see the need for it at all. In his book, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Society, Jared Diamond focuses some attention on the attitude of people who choose not to engage in current affairs and technology. He identifies the parallel between how China made a decision to halt their investment in their naval strategies and the outlines for vessels at sea. This gave Europe greater controls over the water ways and may have caused China regret in the long run. Not embracing such advances in technology at the time cost them the ability to be more ahead today. History may have looked different if they had moved forward with their naval plans.
This makes me wonder about the other years of history covered by Diamond and the different countries that were impacted by guns, germs, and steel. Some people believed in progress but not through modern inventions. Their traditions play a trump card. They may feel changes are being forced on them and therefore resist change altogether. The key word there is “forced”. Even if new diseases threatened their health and their crops, people would stand firm in embracing the undesirable impact and remain unwilling to chart a new course using modern advancements. Even though the steel companies may have found ways to make their agriculture soar and help them to produce more crops faster, some folks, primarily farmers, chose to continue with the tried-and-true method of tilling the ground until they were no more.
Although this mindset of resisting change and refusing to conform to modern technology is prevalent primarily among the older generation, I feel like we should not dismiss them too quickly in thinking that they cannot contribute anything to society simply because they do want anything to do with modern progress. Some older methods just work. They may take more time, but they yield consistent, quality results.
In all, it is easy to forget, dismiss, or overlook others who do not see the world as we see it. In our ever progressive technological society may we not be too quick to dismiss, forget, or overlook anyone who may not share the similar passions for technology, especially the elderly and the poor. On the other side of that coin, when approaching them with helpful advancements, may it be done with adequate information, patience, and a lack of forcefulness. In the meanwhile, technology still advances.