According to Hesiod, as human-beings acquire more technology, their morals and values become less relevant (as described in the 5 Ages of Man). Thus, he believed that human behaviour will eventually destroy humanity.

What are your views on Hesiod’s belief? 🙂

My feelings are conflicted, but I can understand where he is coming from.

The obvious positive impacts of technology are the medical advances stemming from research and new-found discoveries to fight illnesses (and improve the wellbeing of mankind), as well as the ability to locate and prosecute criminals using DNA testing.

In contrast, we’ve experienced a decline in manual labour due to automations (i.e. robotic-machinery in car factories), as well as a decline in face-to-face communication (i.e. less counter-services, not being ‘neighbourly’). The art of communication has been abbreviated to the point of acronyms; in that children, adolescents, and adults have become dependent on ‘spell-check’. Many peoples’ connection to society is through social media; which can be debilitating when developing human rapport, such as humility and value (that extends beyond $$$).

In other words, I believe the way that technology is ‘destroying humanity’ is that it is creating a society that is complacent and does not recognize its dependency on technological devices (perhaps to the point where some cannot live without them).

So… does this mean we’ve reached a point where ‘human instinct has become extinct’?

Was this one of Hesiod’s concerns?

– A.P


5 thoughts on “Hesiod + Technology

  1. Very interesting discussion! It certainly is a disputable topic, one that I am also very conflicted with. Much of what we have accomplished as human beings could not have been done without the help of certain technology. What bothers me about technology is that it has been introduced to such a young generation! I have a 5 year old nephew who works an Iphone better than I do and honestly, that is terrifying for me. At that age I was playing outside or playing with dolls. Now children are less aware of the “outside world”. I feel that certain companies have gone too far with technologies, creating things that simply are not necessary. Iphone C??? Computers built into your fridge? Really????

    In my opinion I believe Hesiod made an excellent point with his theory on human deterioration. Certain technologies have made it too easy for us. That is not to say, however, that technology has not benefited us greatly. For me it goes both ways. We need to remember that technology can only go so far. Would this “new world” be able to survive if we no longer had the privilege of technology helping us along the way?Something to think about…

  2. I think your point is very interesting but I think that maybe Ovid writes more about technology being a main factor in the decline of man than Hesiod does. In Ovid’s description of the race of Iron he really emphasizes naval technology and the development of mining as evils leading humans away from their old values and traditions.

  3. We can rake this discusssion a step further into the future with movies projecting humans “falling in love” with a computer voice. A new movie called “Her” with Scarlet Johansens voice, a recent Big Bang episode of Raj falling for Siri etc. The social debate over our dependance for computers for functionality is well covered but as the planets population grows, we are increasingly isolated socially. It is quite acceptable now to meet someone online, and anyone under 30 is practically fused to a smart phone, in Europe it is the norm to have 2 or 3. What would Ovid and Hesiod thought of that statistic? Anyway to sum up, the ancient thinkers would have found it inconvceivable for the human race to deliberatly choose to interact with machines and technology when there are people available to do the same job albeit slower and less thouroughly. I believe they would be at an absolute loss of words if they knew we consciously interact with technology for social reasons.

  4. Technology has subsidized our biological evolution. It is effectively a self-willed evolution: we cannot survive on the moon, but with space suits to subsidize our inability to survive, we can. If the human race were to destroy itself, technology would not be at fault but rather the human decisions behind that technology. It’s inevitable though that labour markets will become non-existant as automation is able to do it cheaper (the big factor) and more efficiently.

  5. Relating this to an article I recently read titled Technology, Religion, and Progress: The Beginning and The End of Optimism, this can be further analyzed through a similar belief. The article suggests that once scientific experimentation arose and allowed individuals to consider new trains of thought which were no longer influenced by their religious morals, etc., humans stopped considering morals all together and became reliant on new technology, rather than on morals. Although somewhat valid in my opinion, I believe we’re now reaching a point where we understand the damages we’ve caused and are slowly reverting back to natural elements, rather than technological, manmade advancements. Although we still debate and fantasize about robotic helpers, genetic engineering, etc., there’s far too much controversy around such topics to ever allow it to pass. Thus, even just by realizing these things can destroy our world, human instinct still seems more prominent in my opinion.

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