New gadgetry cannot ultimately advance human development and understanding

Dear Editor,

No one can deny the quantum leap of science and technology in today’s world; it is dazzling and mind boggling. The pace of technological development is so rapid that new machinery and gadgets are becoming outdated and old fashioned overnight. We live in a world that is at our fingertips – it will be a touch-button existence within the next generation (if so long). By that time, we may not have a single living person in this country who is not computer literate, and capable of mastering a cell phone, although certainly by then both computers and cell phones would not look anything like what we are seeing now.

Children at nursery school level are meddling with them, and I can’t ever remember seeing a student or young person reading a booklet of instructions about the functions of these devices, yet they become wizards in the wink of an eye by simply fingering them. “What we have to do we learn by doing” − Aristotle.

While there are many grown-ups, even some elderly people who are knowledgeable about the use of modern equipment/gadgets, there are others who have for various reasons resigned themselves from the outset and have never even attempted to ‘hut deh head,’ as we say. So we are in the age of advanced science and technology that has almost completely taken over the world, but what I’ve observed is that even though our youths are so sharp, slick and quick in mastering these devices, many of them are in no way − even remotely in some cases − equally skilful in basic reading/comprehension. The world of literature seems completely lost and a novelty to many. They struggle to read a sentence, and cannot pronounce very simple words, so that the task of reading becomes a drudge − a painful and unpleasurable activity. They are on top of the world in the use of gadgets and devices, but are creeping on the other side of town in the world of literature.

While science will certainly improve and prolong human existence and the new inventions and gadgets make work less laborious and burdensome, in spite of the great services and benefits they provide, they cannot ultimately advance human development and understanding outside of technology. In fact these inventions have had some negative influences on our young people; they have not contributed significantly to improved moral behaviour or uplifting conduct, since they are being exploited to the hilt for negative rather than positive purposes.

Yours faithfully,
Frank Fyffe

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