Do Americans depend too much on technology?

by Susan Van Cleaf



Technology is wonderful. It enables us to open garage doors with the flick of a finger and silently drop Navy Seals into a Pakistani compound to kill Osama Bin Laden.

But do Americans depend too much on technology? I am starting to think so.

Amongst the latest news is the use of cyber attacks by North Korea against South Korea. American banks and American Express are experiencing cyber attacks designed to erase data — not simply to disable websites. A militant Muslim group is claiming responsibility for the attacks.

At the same time, science fiction writers for years have been exploring what might happen in the United States if technology goes away. I have been avidly watching the TV series “Revolution” in which someone has used technology to knock out power all over the United States and a greedy militia is trying to grab the secret to restoring power. The prize is control over the entire United States.

And I have been fascinated by Terry Brooks novels, such as “Armageddon’s Children,” in which he depicts the devastation resulting from humans fighting with each other. Technology is gone and humans have to use their wits and stamina to survive.

The “Hunger Games” series of books is another example of what might happen when technology goes away for most people. A ruling group has all the power, and most people have to scrabble to get food.

So I am asking myself, “Could I survive without technology? Could I snare a rabbit, light a fire and cook it for dinner? If I am injured while running from an aggressor, could I do initial first aid?”

Maybe I would survive if a still were a teenager, Girl Scout and wilderness camper. But not now, when I have pampered myself with an automatic garage door opener, car with power windows, cordless phone, microwave oven, refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner…. You name it.

Science fiction tales make a future without technology seem to be something that might or might not happen to us. But cyber attacks are much more ominous. If some aggressive militant group is hugely successful, the average American might find himself penniless, out on the streets and without technology to help him survive.

News stories talk about an epidemic of obesity and lack of physical fitness of Americans. If we are suddenly without technology, will many people die because they physically cannot handle surviving on the streets or in the wilderness?

Also, history tells us about guerilla fighters who outwit adversaries who rely on technology. The Vietnam War is an example. The United States eventually had to exit the war without winning. Could someone use modern guerilla attacks to take over the United States?

Let’s not be helpless. Let’s learn to be self reliant while enjoying the bare essentials in technology. Let’s get outdoors, get physically fit and be aware of what’s going on around us.

A basic principle in the art of self-defense is being alert to our surroundings while walking out in public to avoid potential muggers and other people with nasty intent. And it’s fun to look into store windows, watch people and experience wildlife — even everyday animals like squirrels.


Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]