Science, Technology, and Human Values Essay

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Science, Technology, and Human Values in Sigmund Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents, Henrik Ibsen and Arthur Miller's An Enemy of the People, and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

Technology has advanced to the point where it touches our lives in nearly every conceivable way-we no longer have to lift a finger to perform the most trivial tasks. The wealth of information and science we have learned in the last few centuries have made our lives easier but not always better, especially when concerning civilization as a whole. Ibsen, Freud, and Vonnegut argue that human values have not kept pace with knowledge's unceasing expansion, which has become an anathema for the individual person and deleterious to society's delectation, albeit without people's entire comprehension.

Henrik Ibsen, as adapted by Arthur Miller, uses his play An Enemy of the People to illustrate how one's contentedness is not necessarily aided by technology but in many instances in fact hindered. When the town's main industry, Kirsten Springs, becomes polluted it raises queries from Dr. Stockmann as to its hazardousness to its occupants. Nearly all residents of the little Norwegian city rally behind Aslaksen, the printer and leader of the business class, in destroying the doctor's credibility so that his accusations of the dangerous water will never be believed by tourists, which would result in a prodigious financial loss for all. This quaint town is a representation of humanity's tendencies towards egoism. When money is involved, it doesn't matter what the risk is, regardless of physical injuriousness and potential loss of life. The springs symbolize technology and Dr. Stockmann stands for venerable human values. The technology has become prosperous ...

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...ges of technology outweigh the disadvantages to the collective human values of society.

Science and Technology are not pursued to improve the moral values of man and as such will be perpetually in disagreement. Humanity will never cease to create new technologies and learn about the universe through scientific methods. A person's values on the other hand are not actively augmented and will suffer. Society is in need of a refreshing of ethics that stays on par with the development of man's other creations.

Works Cited

Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. Ed. and Trans. James Strachey. New York: Norton, 1962.

Ibsen, Henrik and Hampton, Christopher (translator). An Enemy of the People. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1997

Stoppard, Tom. Arcadia. London: Faber and Faber, 1993.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998.

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