Friday, April 23, 2010

A Society Run by Technology and Control

Recently we were talking about cultural assumptions and values. Our society today is rushed and is constantly putting pressure on its people to be successful. When filling out the “Summary of Cultural Assumptions and Values” sheet, I found myself marking entries related to how our society is fast paced, stressful, goal driven, and achievement is everything.
The recent episode with the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano demonstrated our dependence on machines. This tiny island in the middle of basically nowhere put a stop to a large sector of the global community and global economy. It is obvious that our society values money. The television coverage of this volcanic eruption spoke often of the millions and even billions of dollars lost by the airlines, travel industries, agricultural products and more. Businesses are in a panic worrying about the cost of business expenses for employees stranded in many European cities. These employees are costing the company money, but they are not conducting any business transactions nor making sales for the company. Essentially, they are on an all expenses paid vacation from the company. What is the driving force in our society? It is to achieve success and make money whether for yourself or the company you work for. European governments and many businesses are upset because they could not control the situation. We like to think we can control nature and become frustrated when we must submit to fate. The dominant US culture has continued to believe that we can wrap nature around out fingers and tame it. As we continue to do this we only hurt nature more and more. How many people will lose their job because their solution to the suspending of air traffic ended up costing the company money? The eruption of this volcano has only shown that we do not have control over everything especially nature.

Stewart, E.C., Danielian,J., & Foster, R.J. (1998). In M.J. Bennet (Ed.). Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: A reader. (pp. 157-172). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press (Selections)

Stewart, E. C., & Bennett, M. J. (1991). Perception of self (CH 7). In American cultural patterns: A cross-cultural perspective (Rev. ed),(pp. 129 - 148). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press (Selections)



  1. It has been a good observation and realization that most of the nations around the world have been powered by some type of technology. What I can see in Mexico is that this observation is split. Within the country of Mexico I can see that technology has played a role in numerous ways one of which involves immigration. When people immigrate and leave their families behind, there one source of communication is through telephone. To make this possible, some of the time a family choose to install a phone line instead of install an indoor bathroom. Sacrifice is made, in this instance, for a good reason.

    On the other hand there seems to be a sense of pride amongst the citizens in Mexico. Many people occupy the profession of merchants. They pride their selves on their culture and work with their hands to create beauty that many countries never see. This is where most of the money comes from for most lower class families. So I agree that technology can be an overwhelming part to life, however in some countries it can truly be a blessing to have a telephone to communicate with the ones you love; however it is the manner in which you use technology that makes the difference between good and bad.

    CGE Student, Lindsay Hale

  2. I do think that we rely a little too much on technology, but I can't help but love it. Americans do need to realize that simply because we want something to work out one way that it won't always go according to plan. Nature is a force unto itself and we seem to have forgotten that. Sometimes these natural happenings can give us a chance to reconnect with nature and realize that we depend on it a lot more than we think (water, AIR, gas). Perhaps if they were to happen more often the United States would begin to think of ways to work with nature instead of against it?

  3. Sorry, Above comment posted by Paige.