I will never truly understand it, how and why you humans can constantly insist that nature is pure and good and holy while machinery is corrupt, dirty, unnatural and poisonous. I mean come on! Have you seen those nature films? There's a reason why phrases like "It's a jungle out there!" exist! There is nothing peaceful, serene or tranquil about true nature. It's a wild, violent place. Eaten or be eaten. Kill or be killed. There is no diplomacy, only action. Animals don't wait or ask consent or permission. They just do. They take and kill. Maybe they do it out of necessity, but my point still stands that nature isn't exactly the "flowing green fields and bright golden sun" you think it is. Nature is harsh, cruel and unforgiving. Don't tell me that nature is some sort of paradisiacal place we should all aspire to return to. I defy you to give it a run for your money.
Leave behind this wretched society and live among the birds and trees as you so claim to desire. Leave behind this fake, plastic society and go back to the "liberating authenticity" of nature. How long will you last before you come home, starving and weary and terrified? Or will you even come home at all? Will you truly find the inner strength and resolve to live off the land? Or will that fairy fantasy of yours dissolve as you come to see just how and why mankind has tried to flee from the wild? We didn't build huts or vehicles purely for fun. We built them out of necessity. I will not deny the beauty of nature, but I will not deny its cruelty either. To do so, I think, is an even greater offense. Nature is not Eden. Nature is the barren plains, scorching deserts and infested forests. It is hungry predators and poisonous plants. It is exposure to the elements and the wrath of storms. But please, continue to tell me about how lovely, pure, holy and untouched nature is in compared to our modern society.
This society is very far from perfect, believe me, I know. We are corrupt, evil, selfish, greedy, scheming and downright murderous. Every day is a power-struggle, an endless war, a battle for survival. But even so, technology has given us so very much. We have doubled human life expectancy. We made it possible to have clean water. We've nearly starved certain diseases to death through vaccinations. Those with disabilities now have a way to make life a little bit easier. The man with autism is no longer the demon-possessed madman who needs an exorcism or asylum. The girl who once would've been cast out or physically unable to do very much without a vast amount of aid can lead the normal, happy, fulfilling life she deserves thanks to wheelchairs. Those suffering from severe mental health disorders can find treatments and understanding in a world that might've previously cast them aside or written them off as incurable monsters.
That's not to say humanity still has it right (we don't), but it was through the advancement of science and technology that we were able to expand mind and heart. We still don't treat a lot of these people with the full respect and dignity they deserve, but it wasn't just the serene pictures of nature that brought us new understanding and empathy. It was technology. And of course, these people were always worthy and deserved the world, far before these modern conveniences were ever dreamed up, but you cannot deny the benefit those modern conveniences provided to the folks that needed them most.
Technology has benefited so many. It has even saved lives. We may not have it quite right, but I know myself and I know how much I've grown thanks to the help of the internet. Without it and all the wonderful people I've found, I may not still be here. Or at the very least, I doubt I would be half as good or kind. I am still by no means an angel or hero, but I already know that because I had the internet, I have been changed for good. I was taught things school never even mentioned. I was connected with folks I otherwise never would've met. I've met so many great friends when my real-life peers did nothing. I made greater connections to those across the globe than those across the hall. Make of that what you will. And if it weren't for the vast resources and information available on the internet, I wouldn't be half as kind or self-aware as I am today. It was the internet that gave me friendship, hope, life, knowledge and purpose. Really it did.
But yes, please, tell me how technology is a poison to our society and that the truly moral thing to do would be to go back to the days when all that existed was nature, and all the vile, vicious violence that goes with it. Please do go on about how technology is a curse and modern society is plastic and fake. Tell me how only "real" people exist in nature. Tell me how the friends I made online are any less valid than the two or three I have in real life. Tell me how I didn't shape myself and forge powerful connections thanks to my phone and computer. Tell me how lives weren't saved because of technology and machinery. Tell me that we need to go back to nature, to primitive times, to days when all we could do was hunt or forge for food. Tell me how that would be a better life than what we live now. I know we still don't have it anywhere close to correct, but that doesn't automatically mean going back to the wild is the right choice. Maybe for some, but not for all.
You see, the nature of nature is violence, unpredictability and wretched survival. Perhaps it is more honest, but it is also far more brutal. Modern society, although some aspects are very fake and plastic, can create safe spaces for us to truly execersize who we are at heart. If you can look at the 21st century and only see a bunch of manufactured products, then you aren't looking hard enough, nor are you looking in the right places. Good and genuine people do still exist, you know? I have many examples. Even if it's mostly manufactured products, there's still a lot more than just that. And you are doing us all an even greater disservice by assuming that that's all we are anymore: plastic.
We've always had a propensity to lie and a desire to fit in. That existed long before social media and plastic surgery. Yes, I will admit that it has gotten worse ever since the rise of these modern conveniences, but vanity is not a 21st century invention. Instead, underneath it all, we haven't changed very much at all. It's still a daily battle for survival and an endless search for the Truth. We still have ups and downs, pros and cons. We still see love, compassion, sacrifice, connection and authenticity, living right alongside hatred, selfishness, greed and "fakeness". The set has changed but the play's the same. We never really left nature at all. The nature of nature is that we're still here. Maybe we aren't surrounded by trees and animals, but the story is still very much the same and neither world, in my opinion, is any more "correct" than the other. Expand your mind and don't think in such binary, simplistic terms, please.
The nature of nature is lawlessness. The truth of technology is that it can indeed be used for good. There is no morality in either world. It is only what we make of it and how we use it. So now, the question isn't which world is more moral, but how we will utilize both so that we can make them both moral and make them both the best possible worlds that they can be. It's not a question of "which" but of "how". How do we properly wield the power given to us?
AN: Consider this an "Ok, Boomer" fic. I know a lot of us Millennials-Gen Z'rs know the values of technology, but I've still got to put this out there that I will never NOT be frustrated by literary symbolism where nature is painted as some beautiful and scenic thing while technology is cast as a poison and a blinder. Ok, rant done! Sorry about that! Later y'all!
(Just to make it clear, this isn't an anti-environmental fic. This is an anti "let's say tech is ruining this generation" fic. I absolutely support respecting, loving, protecting, studying and nurturing nature, but that doesn't automatically mean I'm going to bash tech too.
Likewise, not every Boomer is a bad Boomer. Just though I'd make that clear too while we're at it). Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk.