Essay on Evolution of Technology in Western Civilization
There is no doubt that Western civilization has caused a unique industrial revolution in life of the world, which has become a science and technology revolution. Transformation of nature on the planet has entered a new stage, which is characterized by avalanche unpredictable progress.
Since the beginning of mankind, there is a constant scientific and technological progress due to the development of the human mind. If we consider the development of man from the beginning, we will notice a trend. Initially, human was engaged in gathering, ie, he gathered berries. Humans used and gathered what was grown by nature, not by him. Then people discovered that they could grow any grains and legumes to provide themselves with food. He began creating special tools to cultivate the land. Later, people began to create a variety of tools for farming, hunting, etc. (Zsinka, 2014).
With the development of crafts, people have got more opportunities for existence, they could provide themselves with everything they needed: food, dishes, clothes, etc. The same trend can be observed during the development of industry. With the development of industry, people have improved their achievements. They create better goods that meet the needs of humanity. People constantly improve themselves and everything around to simplify the life.
In the 20th century, science and technology began to play the role of the main engines of economic and social development. Scientific-technical revolution became a support vector of historical dynamics. For those who enjoyed it to the maximum extent, it gave strength, which at the end of the 20th century was the measure of success of the country and the people. Economic and military power of the state, complemented by a high standard of living, which are based on NTP, actually puts it ahead in the forefront, provides advantages in the global arena (Perl, 2011).
Western civilization is a special type of civilization (culture), which historically emerged in Western Europe and in the last century endured a specific process of social modernization (Bowden, 2011). Western civilization is associated with the progressive development and constant changes in a person’s life. It appeared in ancient Greece and ancient Rome. The first stage of its development, called “ancient civilization”, was marked by the emergence of the core values of the Western type of society: private ownership, private industry, market-oriented; the first sample of democracy – democracy, however, was limited; republican form of government. It created the foundations of civil society to ensure the rights and freedom of the individual, as well as a system of social and cultural principles that contribute to the mobilization of creativity and development of the individual.
The next stage in the development of Western civilization is connected with Europe and Christianity. The Reformation gave rise to a new trend in Christianity – Protestantism, which became the spiritual foundation of Western civilization. The main value of this civilization is the individual freedom of choice in all spheres of life. It was directly connected with the development of specific European type of personality that emerged during the Renaissance. “The individual becomes tragically responsible not only for approximation and removal from the Supreme, but also for the choice of what he, that individual, considers the Supreme…” (Fitzgerald, 2002).
According to Weber, rationality became the most important independent value of the West. Public consciousness is rational, free of religious dogma in solving practical problems, pragmatical, but the scope of application of Christian values is a social morality of not only his personal life, but also of business ethics (Zafirovski, 2011).
In the era of geographical discoveries and colonial wars, Europe extended its type of development in other regions of the world. For the first time, mankind, due to the global spread of Western values and institutions (16-19 centuries), was really integrated into the framework of the world-embracing system of connections. By the end of the 19th-early 20th century, these values and institutions became dominant in the world and continued to define the main features of the face of the Earth in this century until very recently.
The main content of civilization process in the 20th century was the tendency to the formation of the historical structures of the universal world civilization. Processes taking place in the 20th century in the West became global, directly affecting all nations, all other civilizations, who were forced to seek an answer to the historical challenge of the West. That challenge was perceived in a particular form of reality as an imperative of modernization. In this situation, the question of the relationship between modernization and westernization became central to the vast majority of humanity of non-Western world (Lin, 2010).
In the second half of the 20th century, the world was developing under the influence of scientific and technological revolution (STR), which is usually understood as a qualitative transformation of modern productive forces on the basis of science and technology. STR began in the 30s of the 20th century and received a powerful acceleration during the Second World War and the Cold War.
There were found new sources of energy – nuclear, solar-powered, wind power plants. People started using new artificial materials – nylon, plastic, etc. Automation has changed the nature of work and the place of man in the production process. The emergence of cybernetics has created logistical base for the scientific management of social processes. Industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, nuclear energy, the overall mechanization and automation of production came to the fore. People started exploring space and underwater world. STR has led to the release of new types of products, introduction of new technologies and new tools. Dissemination of scientific and technological revolution was not confined to industry, transport, communications, and energy. STR rapidly invaded other areas of life, such as trade, monetary system, education, management (Milke, 2012).
Today technology intrudes into all areas of society: from economics to sports and leisure, it affects interpersonal relationships, changes the structure and hierarchy of values, and determines characteristics of the modern individual.
With the help of technology people create a new world, both real and virtual, make technical objects (car, computer) the main objects of attention, replacing natural communication with their people. Technology has multiplied power and possibilities of man. At the same time, it has brought a host of new problems, spawned sharp contradictions, has become one of the causes of the crisis of civilization (Hunt, 2008). Public opposition to the construction of nuclear power plants, chemical, pulp and paper mills can be considered a reaction to the scientific and technological progress. Sometimes they are expressed in a very extravagant form. For example, American farmers Mennonites abandoned agricultural machinery and plow with the help of horses (Zsinka, 2014).
Technical progress can not be stopped. Ultimately, it defines the socio-economic development of society and the standard of living. Development of civilization depends on how rapidly scientific and technological progress develops. Enhancing the role of science and technology in modern society actualizes the moral responsibility of the scientist for the consequences of his discoveries. It is known that many nuclear scientists involved in the development of atomic weapons, warned the world about the catastrophic consequences of its application.
In our time, humanity has great losses, both human and material, as a result of technical failures and accidents. Though, not only technique is to be blamed. People controlling it usually make mistakes, which lead to tragedies. The root cause of the negative impact of technology on the human need should be looked for not so much in it, as in man, in social relations, in the ways of solving economic and other issues, ways to meet social and individual needs.
Mankind has invented drugs and alcohol, which are widely used in medicine and industry; but they also created the conditions for such phenomena as drug addiction and alcoholism, providing mass human losses comparable with wars (Huff, 2014).
Transformation of science into a direct productive force of society does not mean that science is transformed into its fourth element. This only shows that science most significantly and positively affects every element of the productive forces of society, thereby converting and amplifying them. Results of research eventually lead to the improvement and the emergence of innovative instruments and objects of labor, raise the level of knowledge and skills of the workforce, which in turn provides the basis for the transformation and growth of the productive forces of society, and ultimately – for economic development.
As to such a feature of modern scientific and technological revolution, as the priority development of science in comparison with the equipment and technology, it is of fundamental importance in the present conditions. Countries and large economic entities gain the possibility to predict and plan the creation of such equipment and technology, which will ensure the implementation of strategic plans in the field of economic development and solving social problems.
Acceleration of STP has great economic and social importance for any country in the world. Perhaps there is no more powerful and strong factor, which has such a significant effect on all economic and social processes.
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