I have read somewhere that as one who aspires to be a writer that I should write something everyday to stay in practice. So there will be quite a few ramblings, though I shall strive to keep them somewhat meaningful.

In my American Literature class we recently read a bit of Ralph Waldo Emerson and then were asked to do a short writing on a quoted section. Here is that section:

“The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported in crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle. He has as fine Geneva watch, but fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun….being sure of the information when he wants it, the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. …His notebooks impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit…” (Emerson, Self Sufficiency)

Now while I am not abhorrent of technology, in point of fact I write this post in my iPad, I do believe that if not kept in proper place it can indeed be our downfall. At heart I am a man that much prefers the ways of the wilderness, but technology can be quite the useful tool. Unfortunately in our modern day we have seen the things that Emerson spoke of become magnified. There are young folks now who would not even be able to tell the time on that fine Geneva watch, let alone tell time by way of the sun. Internet slang and text-speak are beginning to replace words that Webster so carefully placed in his dictionary.

I am named after the son of one our nations early explorers. This father has had many a legend and tale written about him. Unfortunately his son died at to young an age and his tale is a short one. But how far removed am I from them. For me, exploring the forests are nothing more than a hobby, an enjoyment as I try to escape the breakneck speed of modern life. To those early explorers and settlers however, living in the wilderness was a way of life. It was what they did, it was survival in its truest sense.
They had none of the conveniences of our modern day. When their flint and steel failed to produce a proper spark, they could not just pull out a trusty lighter and pour some kerosene on the wood. No, they had to keep trying. Their cabins were built with sweat and blood and hard labor. These were men who could stand on their own, there was no need for the conveniences of society.

But then, how much more hardier were the natives of this vast land. Their flint and steel was a hand drill made of carefully selected woods, their steel knives chipped from the flint of the land or broken sea shells, the primitive flintlock muskets become bows and arrows crafted by hand. What would they say to the technology possessed by those early American explorers.

Each new generation sees changes in the technology that they possess. The question is, do we become master of that technology, use it for the tool that is meant to be? Or do we allow the technology define us and in turn forget who we are and what we are capable of?


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