The individual "soul" in relation to the new world of technology
In today’s world technology overtook the mankind and individualism concept by a storm. The person has no longer space or time to compete with the technology that man himself has invented (Halal 1). Though, in numerous ways, it is quite useful the erosion of individualism has not a very welcome aftermath.
In today’s world the effect of technological advancement is felt far and wide. In particular, each individual in the world get used to technology in one or the other way. There are numerous things such as cell phones, cars, washing machines, cookers, computers and others technology that wholly embedded into our lives. We cannot ignore this fact. Aim of this essay is to take an outlook on this concept of technology and the effect it does on individualism. To reflect this effect in the best way, a close examination of two literary works by two renowned authors will be done. The main work is a poem, the Passage to India by Walt Whitman in his collection Leaves of grass (Whitman 1). The other reflexive work that will be reviewed is a chapter of a book, The three day blow inthe book In our time by Ernest Hemingway (Hemingway 41).
Individual "soul" versus technology: Passage to India
The passage to India is a poem that is written in free verse and expansive lines and was self- published by Walt Whitman in the year 1855. The poem talks about the advent of technology and its impact on mankind. It talks about a journey, from India to the land of America. He traversed valleys and the seas by plains, moreover this journey is in the mind of the poet. The poem gives a contrast at the different stages of individual’s life through taking a journey down the landscape, using different machines that are present on it among other issues.
At the beginning of the poem, the stanza I-IV, Whitman praises this advent of technology by terming them “great achievements” (Whitman). Whitman comments the building of the Suez Canal, the great ships in the sea, modern science, engineers and scientists building machines all over, steam ships, cars, locomotives, rail roads and dredging machines. For this he used “Singing my days/ Singing the great achievements of the present/ Singing the strong light works of engineers/ Our modern wonders” (Whitman). The other V-IX stanzas reflected these technological advancements and how they have affected the way man behave.
Whitman terms the obsession of man for exploration and thirst to conquest the Earth with machines as being ‘unjustified’ in “Ah who shall soothe these feverish children?/ Who justify these restless explorations?/ Who speak the secret of impassive earth?” and “Then not your deeds only/ O voyagers,/ O scientists and inventors, shall be justified,/ All these hearts as of fretted children shall be sooth'd” (Whitman). He argues that only after the whole land and sea has been conquered the full effect of advent of technology that covers the earth will be felt. Moreover, the individual soul will be undermined by this “After the seas are all cross'd, (as they seem already cross'd,)/ After the great captains and engineers have accomplish'd their work…/ Finally shall come the poet worthy that name, /The true son of God shall come singing his songs, /Then not your deeds only/ O voyagers,/ O scientists and inventors,
shall be justified”(Whitman)
Whitman states that the individual soul has been disjoined and diffused by these numerous technological happenings. The erosion of individualism is imminent due to these technologies that surround mankind. Before these technologies came along and dwelled on the land that was beautiful and natural habitat, and mankind knew how to survive. Technology changed all that and instilled into man the desire to explore, discover and conquer things out of his realm. And it is the desire that led to the undoing of the man’s soul and individualism.
Greed, the hunger for power and conquest triumphed over the man’s own wellbeing. The technological drive and advancements made it all possible. The man’s appetite for greatness grew with the advanced technologies. His insatiable appetite fuelled with the technological advancements and success and led to the erosion of individualism as depicted in this poem Passage to India.
The Three Day Blow: in our time novel
Ernest Hemingway intends to bring out the relationship between two men and to expound their contrasts and views on technology in the modern world in The Three Day Blow. The greatest fear of these two men, Bill and Nick, is to become tied down in marriage. They feel that marriage will constrain the bachelors and make them to lose their freedom. The men’s perspectives on technology are quite shallow. However, there is recognition for the existence of the technology and a mild effect on the individualism since Nick proposed Marjorie to visit Italy (Hemingway, 46).
The use of guns in this story by the three characters, Nick, Bill and Nick’s dad also pointed out the effect that technology made on these individuals. It was shown in the scene when Nick’s dad went for hunting and later on Nick and Bill finished their drinks and decided to pick their guns and join Nick’s dad. The use of gun as a technological tool for safety and confidence of security reflect a typical relationship between men and technology in this context.
My own view on technology and its effect on my individualism
It would be extremely difficult, in today’s world to survive without reliance on technology. Taking a typical example of myself, my life would be extremely uncomfortable and difficult if there was no technology to assist me in my daily activities. For example, I am using technology to write this essay. Without a computer, it would be pretty uncomfortable for me to write down this essay manually. My phone, car, laundry, TV and other gadgets define the way I live. Moreover, it become pretty hard for me to survive without involving myself into a certain technological initiated or operated endeavor.
The effect on my individualism is also pretty profound. There are a lot things that mankind could do manually before it was lost and now this concept of technology made everything easier. My overreliance on this technology has somehow taken out the urge to work hard. The fact that I can change my TV channels using a remote control without even keeping my seat serves to prove my reliance on technology. Moreover, this encourages laziness.
The review of the poem by Whitman and the story by Hemingway reflects the author’s attitude towards effects and heavily reliance on technology by mankind. This reliance has adverse effects on the way we behave, think and reason. Reliance on technology leads to the erosion of our individualism.