Friday, June 20, 2014

How Do You Define Technology & Culture?

You don't think about how hard it is to define such seemingly easy terms until you have to do it.  This week my class discussion posts were about defining these two words, here is what I had to say.  What is your definition?  I am genuinely interested in your responses as I had a lot of people disagree with me.


To me culture can have as many definitions as there are people.  It seems to be one of those revolving words that people interpret differently based on their own experiences that they bring to the table.  For me, culture can be defined as a definition of a group of people.  That is to include the individual heritage, history, beliefs, dress, and way of life, diet, as well as, customs and courtesies.

 As a native Montanan, I grew up around many different tribes of Native Americans.  There are also many different reservations located throughout the state.  I first remember being introduced to cultural differences as a student participating in sports.  This was when I had my first real exposure to other people who resided on a reservation.  I have always been intrigued by those different than I am and love learning more about them and what forms their beliefs and thought processes.  It was also eye opening to me to see how they would protect one another against outsiders.  They were always so close knit and familial. 

 As a military member in the Air National Guard I was again faced with the close-knit community in the Guard, only this time I was a part of it.  This was always referred to as the “Guard Family Culture.”  It was a very rude awakening to me when I had to do extensive training with the active duty Air Force.  Instead of the now “family” community culture that I had become accustomed to, I was instead faced with a culture of feeling of being more cut throat, and competitive with selfishness abounding.  I was appalled at the lack of camaraderie that was displayed by the airman that I can in contact with.  This exposure made my mind up that I would never want to be a part of the Active Duty Air Force culture.  This has been reinforced to me with dealing of other service cultures; most notably, the Marine Corps.  I had renewed faith in active duty camaraderie in watching how the Marines could come together as a “family” in the majority of their service members. 

This is just one example of a type of cultural behavior that can cross between races and even in occupations.  This can be further broken down in the military/civilian and even branches of service, down to what I experienced between the differences in the guard and active duty culture. 


Initially, just thinking of a way to define technology feels like a daunting task.  For me it is something that encompasses so many concepts that just one word is not enough.  With that being said I will try to articulate how best I view the meaning of technology.   Technology is something that can be used in addition to or separate from one’s own bodily limited methods.  I mean this in terms that it can allow us to do more than we could without it. 
From as far back as caveman with the addition of fire as a technology, a person could now cook and prepare food in a different way, which could also develop into a defense or attack method.  Copper as a metal has been a great technological addition in creating tools and utensils with it.  This allows new ways for someone to work faster and more efficiently, and with the creation of new weapons, one was able to better defend themselves and also to attack others, or even for use in hunting.  
Later in history a chariot or carrier was added to a horse to be able to carry more items or to travel faster, and then even to aide in warfare.  Progress forward even further in time and we can add in the radio to further communication and business and once again warfare.  The spaceship has allowed further exploration and research and claims in space wars. 
Technology allows a human to do more than they could previously have done; if left to the limitations of their own body.  With only hands and feet we could not have hunted or fought or defended and foraged, and explored with the same effectiveness that we do now.
That is not to say that there have not been failures in technology only that even without continued success that each technology has allowed for a capability that would not have been there without it.  Technology chooses no sides, it can be used for good or evil, and like a computer it is only as effective as its operator.    

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