The statement coined by Descartes, "I think, therefore I am," no longer holds true for the middle of the last decade of the twentieth century. This is mostly due to the emergence of monumental technological breakthroughs since the formulation of this statement in the seventeenth century. In fact, "I have technology, therefore I am" and/or "My God said so, therefore I am" could be contemporary versions of this statement that accurately describe us today.
In the past, one was free to think for himself, or forced to think for himself, because no one else or nothing else could think for him. The rise in the use of computers this century, however, has revolutionized the way things are done. Those who own the technology no longer have to "think" about menial tasks. For example, when one buys a product in a store for $1.38 and hands the cashier a five-dollar bill, the cashier will punch in the five dollars and let the computerized cash register indicate the correct change of $3.62 to give to the customer. No thinking on the part of a person is involved. Instead, it is substituted by a reliance on mechanical and repetitious actions which are unproductive and unhealthy for the mind. We human beings are blessed with the capability to reason and to think logically; therefore, we cannot function as subservient individuals to the modern technology that we have created. Our growing reverence for technology and its comforts will ultimately strip us of our creativity and our curiosity to learn. This ultimately obviates the need to make decisions based on our own judgments because computers will take care of everything with a touch of a button. Obviously, once the computers malfunction, life as we know it will be in chaos since we would not be able to survive without the complex gadgets.
Furthermore, as economic stability becomes more uncertain, the destitute and despondent masses will turn to religion and their God for consolation. Although this seems paradoxical in a time when the degradation of society is eminent, "I think, therefore I am" could be justly altered into "My God says so, therefore I am" to match the social atmosphere of today. These people are all foolishly deceived into thinking that they are notorious sinners who must incessantly repent now in order to enter the "kingdom" of Heaven later. Evidently, these desperate believers are again subordinate to a "supreme being" who has supposedly intended the present hopelessness to test the loyalty of those who perceive that "He" is omnipotent and is looking out for our best interests.
Hence, it is no longer "I think, therefore I am" but "My computer thinks, therefore I am" and/or "My God says so, therefore I am," which more accurately reflects the pervasive attitudes of society as it stands now. The advancements of science and technology are meant to supplement or ease the tasks of daily life and were not created to be necessities of life. We are essentially emancipated human beings who must not be confined by the devastating shackles of our own technological creations. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.