Ignorance is Slavery
slave | sl?v | noun A person who is excessively dependent upon of controlled by something.
The American slaves were seemingly emancipated in the year 1865. However, even as the last vestiges of racism against blacks dissipate, a new type of slavery dwells among us. It subtly controls our actions, silently blights our mind, and we are undoubtedly dependent upon it. As the level of technology around us accelerates at an unprecedented rate, we put more and more parts of our lives into electronics. As Frederick Douglass once stated, “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.
” Due to our ignorance, we will forever be slaves to technology until we change. With the slaves, their search for knowledge forever freed them. Like traditional slavery, we are controlled unwillingly. Like traditional slavery, technology addiction will have long-term effects that will hinder our welfare. Like traditional slavery, we are dehumanized and constrained.
However, as similar as we are enslaved to technology to the blacks were enslaved to the whites, there are many differences that occur between the two. The slavery that occurred in the Americas during the 1600’s-1865 was a form of chattel slavery, or the slave is considered property. According to The Abolition Project, these slaves were imported from Africa to do labor for their white superiors. Treated like tools, they were sold, bought, and traded like produce and trinkets. Because they were not human in the eyes of their buyer and seller, they were often the victims of hostility and odium.
The inhumane treatment of the slaves roused the staid Americans, sparking controversy against many, and after a long Civil War, it was abolished in 1865. Unlike chattel slavery, we are controlled by technology solely by our own will. We can all agree that slavery violates our moral precepts, but we will not accept that the machine controls us. We search for our captors and are so enveloped in the wonders of the digital domain that we are inevitably enslaved by it. Because of our human nature and laziness, we are tantalized by the ease of automation.
Instead of being forced to do harsh labor, we don’t have to work at all, but are “forced” to continuously sacrifice our time, energy, and effort to our “masters.” Slavery in the Americas was centered on the blacks being the victims. However, in today’s tyranny of technology, everyone, young or old, white or black, can fall victims. Furthermore, the rate that technology is advancing is growing faster and faster. This only makes us wonder whether we will ever escape. During the slavery that occurred in 19th century USA, the slaves always sought an escape route, a way to freedom.
Through songs or secret codes, the slaves always relayed messages under their masters’ noses to plan an escape or insurrection. Obviously, in order to create such an elaborate coding system the slaves had to be very creative. For example, the white masters may interpret the slave song, Wade in the Water’s verse, “There is joy… your peace… your deliverance is in the water,” as the blacks’ strange obsession to water. However, because of this song, it was commonly known by the slaves to travel near the water, as it would mask their scent to their masters’ hounds and provide nourishment for the journey ahead. In addition to messages to other slaves, slaves used songs to ease the burden of their labor.
Because of their clever tactics, the brutalities enacted upon them were to no avail. In the end, it is clear that poetry and music, along with their creativity, have formed the slave’s everyday lives. With our addiction to technology, we are headed in the opposite direction that the Africans slaves had to go in order to free themselves. While the slaves earned to escape from their captors, we enjoy our dependency to technology. Because we are literally addicted to our phones or computers, it is our impulse to return to them. We refuse to accept that we are slaves, and our ignorance is the source of our captivity.
It has even gone so far that people have brought their phone into the shower! Also, Susan Linn and Edward Hallowell, both psychologists, say this addiction will have long-term affects in our creativity for future generations. Due to all of the information already presented to us, there is no need to do exercise our mental capacity. Therefore, the more we tend to use phones on a daily basis, the less we will be able to mentally exert our brains to solve” real life” problems. Plainly, this enslavement to our computers and cell phones will tear down our mental state and will continue to lure us back into the dark, slippery slope. While the slavery to the white Americans and our slavery to technology share many key traits there are still many differences that occur between them.
The blacks that had to go through atrocities due to whites were eventually freed. They also sought ways to escape as well and creative ways to achieve their freedom. However, we are enslaved to technology in ways that we might not be freed. Our mentally capabilities and talents are slowly degrading and we lack the ambition that the Africans had. On the other hand, as Douglass had said, we can escape from slavery with the knowledge of our predicament.
We can finally, just like the slaves, be free.