3/18/2020 0 Comments
Technological Advances vs. Human Values Technological advances occur all around, whizzing by, while human values change little and at a much slower pace. Commercially bottled water stands as just one of a sundry of items that human technology has conjured up over the years. It seems as though the average person can not go through a day without seeing a symbol of this phenomenon, whether it is a vending machine, an empty container lying in the gutter, or a person clutching a plastic bottle in their hand. Also an ever-present technological advance is the cellular phone, "can you here me now?" It is almost a guarantee that during the course of a class period, a ringtone or the buzzing of the vibrating mode will shake the air. Human nature exists right along side its technology. Kurt Vonnegut and Samuel Beckett use their writings to illustrate what needs to be a part of human existence besides human values and technology. For all of the newfangled contributions to the modernization of human civilization, the values that humans live by have not progressed quite as swiftly. Technological advances occur all around, whizzing by, while human values change little and at a much slower pace. Billy Pilgrim, Kurt Vonnegut's main Slaughterhouse-Five character, rode through life on one of those moving sidewalk, conveyer belt contraptions. He did not make any special efforts to enhance his situation. If one were to cut and paste the novel so that the story of Billy Pilgrim's life went in chronological order, it would become apparent that he merely lived his life. The world still moved around him, war, fire-bombing, the progression of the television set, but Billy took a passive role in his own existence. Billy Pilgrim stays the same humdrum being his entire life. Vonnegut used the repetition of Billy's life and phrases such as "Somewhere a big dig barked" to exhibit how some things just do not change (168). He points out that the people in the novel "are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces" (164). Billy knows that he is going to die anyway, regardless of what he does or does not do, and he plainly wants to remain unscathed during his journey. Vonnegut used this publication as a vehicle to show that it is not enough to live a life to its end, the approach that Billy employed.
Causes of World War One -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A. Economic Imperialism at home and abroad - In one generation Africa - direct possession (1902: only Liberia, founded by former American slaves remains independent) Asia and Near East: economic and diplomatic pressure Economic concessions and extra-territorial privileges: Ottoman Empire - most vulnerable; China - most vulnerable; Japan - modernizing rapidly; India - firmly in British hands; Importance to Europe: keeps fat on European economy; colonial rule a reproach to democracy; encouraged feelings of national and racial superiority; "Pan" movements - a form of imperialism Technology and science: materialism B. Social Human welfare: serfdom gone (except in Russia); surgery and anesthetics perfected; life span longer; Victorian middle class morality in decline; spread of literacy. Peace movements: "pipe dream of peace". Aristocratic remainders. Neglect of the proletariat. C. Intellectual 1. European cultural heritage 2. Ideologies of progress: conservatism - delaying action not progress (aristocracy) liberalism - freedom, law, representative government (upper middle class) radicalism - remove class distinctions, anti-clerical (lower middle class) socialism - collectivist doctrine (city workers) new left - syndicalism D. Political 1. the nation-state: language and race 2. parliamentary government 3. parties: tied to class and ideology lack of responsibility too many of them 4. Differing forms separation of powers only in the USA king or president a figurehead in Britain and France search for majorities in parliament Britain: the cabinet held the whip France and Italy: parliament held the whip 5. Extension of the suffrage 6. Exceptions to democratization Germany: only has external form of it, the Reichstag is a "debating chamber" Austria-Hungary: maintaining monarchy in polyglot confusion Russia: a struggle between Duma and Ministry E. Military 1. popular militarism Boer War naval building race: Admiral Tirpitz - risk theory Three-year army law: France 1913 Tripoli campaign in Italy, 1911 2. Comparative figures on army increase, 1870-1914: 1870 1914 Russia 700,000 1,300,000 France 380,000 846,000 Germany 403,000 812,000 Austria-Hungary 247,000 424,000 Britain 302,000 381,000 Italy 334,000 305,000 Japan 70,000 250,000 U.S.A. 37,000 98,000 3. military expenditure
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