I’m sure this subject has been discussed at length by minds better than mine. But I want to go over it again, from a different perspective – the impact of the Telegraph and Photography – two technologies that merged and gave mankind a technological mania they could not resist, or understand.
We did not say, back in the middle of the 19th Century, when these appeared “These are powerful new technologies, and we will have to carefully note how they affect us, and keep them under control.” No, we did not. We were so entranced by their short-term advantages (to make a quick profit) we used them as much, and as fast, as we could – and noticed nothing.
We relinquished control to them – and felt this was a huge advantage.
The result was was the 20th Century – with WWI, the Depression, and WWII. People realized something was wrong – but did not want to think about what it could be. Development had become a drug they did not want to give up.
I was born into this situation (in 1936) and my parents were obsessed with getting ahead – as fast as they could. They were upwardly mobile – as they would have said. Determined to leave the world (of their parents) behind them. Their technologies of choice were the Radio and the Movies – which, once again – took over. Energized by Electrical Power – which became available everywhere.
My hometown of Ft. Madison, Iowa was devoted to the Santa Fe Railroad on the West End of town – and the Sheaffer Pen Company on the East End. Our family lived in the West End – but Dad had his studio in the East End of town. The difference, at the time, hardly mattered – everyone was poor.
WWII changed everything – and everyone became rich. And America became the strongest nation in history. Then they blew it – in the Fifties and Sixties.
I remember this well – I became an Electronic Engineer, and worked on some very expensive Radar stations – designed to detect Soviet nuclear bombers – that did not exist. The pay was excellent!
We lost our advantage fighting the Cold War – which destroyed the Soviet Union – and to a lesser degree, America itself. Once again – Americans noticed nothing.
Our overdeveloped technical skills resulted in some underdeveloped social skills.