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Modernity: Is It a Good Thing or Bad Thing?

By:   •  June 20, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,868 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,626 Views

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Modernity: Is It A Good or Bad Thing?

There has been an excessive amount of contentions recently on whether or not the average ‘modern life' is declining or advancing. The main spark that has influenced this kind of talk is the advancement of technology. It caused us to live in a world that is different than centuries ago, leaving room for the debate on modernity and whether or not it has been a positive or negative change in life. Many mislead the decline in modernity with just the evolution of the different aspects of modern life. Although some may assert that many aspects of modern life are declining, some other aspects are improving and give a positive influence on modernity.

Education is one of the many aspects that hold remarkable value when discussing the changes in modernity. In education, statistics have shown us that students in general are more intelligent than how they were twenty years ago. According to the text "Brain Candy" by Malcolm Gladwell, the I.Q. scores in America in the past century "showed a steady upward trajectory, rising by about three points per decade" (Gladwell 294). This proves that no matter how much a decline there is in the education facet, people are getting smarter by the day and this is what is important for the future. Analysts use technology as the main cause for this improvement in education, stating technology "aids in rediscovering a world full of unknown enigmas" and "help the students become more interested in the ‘boring' side of the learning process". Facts like these show evidence that some aspects are advancing due to different elements being more contemporary. Younger generations will indeed have more intelligent ways of thinking and therefore will be smarter, more keen leaders of the world.

Numerous critics convey that a decline in education is due to the lack of morals and ethics students show to the teachers. Most of these critics base their generalizations on the time they were educated in institutions, and compare these times with education in the present day. The morals and principles that students hold in schools are without a doubt declining, due to the media and what it is providing to the public and the ideas it gives to the students. For example, it is only until now that being a bully is considered somewhat of a "cool" act in school and between friends. However, the purpose of education is to let an individual acquire knowledge through practice. Unfortunately, maintaining valuable morals in schools is getting increasingly difficult as we go more into the future. Thus, to maximize intellectual capacity of individuals, the morals and values that the students used to hold will diminish. However, if education with fewer ethics and morals lead to a higher rate of intelligence, then the world is getting a good outcome. This is partly due to the logic that a world full of morals and decreased intelligence would be not as successful as a world full of intelligence and decreased morals; like many would say: "ethics and morals are just artificial intelligence." This implies that students that are more intelligent will have a higher chance of doing something good in life in the future, even though they don't have the same morals as educated students a century ago.

The media has been held accountable during many years for destroying the young teenagers' brains by making them lazier and more indolent. The entertainment industry is now bigger than ever and their watchers and listeners are not even an exception of this fact. This denotes that as the entertainment industry is getting bigger, the minds of these people receiving this form of entertainment are also getting as big. People that believe entertainment and education are declining always tend to use technology and its increasing thirst for video games and media as a blame for why teenagers' brains are declining. Little do these cavilers know, these video-games and TV shows actually make a person think for a longer time period and ‘outside-the-box' than any book or "educational" work that is out there, just because of an increase in interest. The more a person shows interest in a task, the more it leaves room for them to perform better at it.

The breakthrough in technology that the world was able to achieve in the past century caused us to enrich our brains with smarter ways of thinking. It helped the apply thoughts into real world problems achievable by the virtual pastime, something that is barely done in schools and educational institutions. Steven Johnson, a former editor of a popular magazine called Feed, proved this fact in one of his books by saying that "twenty years ago, games like Tetris or Pac-Man were simple exercises in motor coordination and pattern recognition" (Gladwell 295). Pop music, for example, has an increasing amount of technology involved that could change the sound of the instrumentals and the vocals used in the production. Some of the most successful artists these days use voice synthesizers to maximize their vocal skills, and this is what pop music is about. Haters of that advanced generation in music, like Ali Nassar, criticize pop music by stating that they are only "songs that appeals to the masses, regardless of musical worth." (Linthicum 276) Many people like Nassar dislike the way the music industry is going because they feel like artists these days "record with overused, clichéd lyrics hardly distinguishable from those of the pop songs currently playing on the radio" (Linthicum 277). This certainly proves that any popular music could be done with no talent and expertise in the field, but it does not mean the actual ‘music' is getting worse. Because of that phenomenal advance in music, anyone could pursue their dreams and not be obstructed by the lack of vocal capabilities or other means to create good music. The entertainment industry is not declining as the years go by, it is getting better and more exposed to the public than back when there wasn't any controversial issues over the decline in this aspect of modern life.

Music being technologically advanced helped create the newest genre of music, Hip-Hop, which is looked upon as a bad, meaningless genre of music that is just another reason why modernity is going backwards. Actually, Hip-Hop gave the "ability to easily deliver messages of the author or the artist to the listener." (Taylor 2005) It makes it easy for ordinary people that have no talent and are unable to perform in any instruments to communicate to the audience through this "form of music that is close to the hearts of many of its listeners." This proves this genre could be a milestone in music as it flourishes what music is really about: the ability to express emotions in a harmonious way through a sound medium. According to polls, this form of music not only is widely appreciated across the world,


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