As I'm putting the finishing touches of The Opus of Amateur Radio Knowledge and Lore, I've noticed a few things. If you go back far enough in history, it seems like EVERY civilization has had their stab at high technology. In the Old World, we had the Sumerians. We had the Egyptians. We had the Romans and the Greeks. We had the Chinese dynasties. In the new world we had the Incans and the Mayans. In North America, we had the Illinois "Hill People" who seem to have evaporated off the planet before our "regular" Aboriginal people showed up on the scene. The technological skill of all these people, at their apex, seems to have been remarkably democratic.....just not all at the same time.
I'm not sure if we can always use the measuring stick of technology to divide the "haves" from the "have nots" but it seems to be reasonable benchmark. It's also probably fair to say that, using this measuring stick, most of the world's current "have-nots" were in the "haves" category at one period in time.
Many of our techological skills in the West, particularly the U.S. are becoming lost arts. We are quickly losing the know-how to do even some basic machining, which was the root of our economy for a century. As far as civilizations go, the United States has been meteoric, when it comes to technology. HIgh angle parabolic trajectories have a downside....precipitous falls on the return trip.
Is there a moral here? Probably not....except to note that over the LONG HAUL, the universe is excruciatingly fair. The slave owners eventually become the slaves. Depending on which side of the equation one is on, It' s the SHORT TERM that's generally the most annoying.
In light of this, do the world's have-nots have any recourse other than to wait a Millenium or so until they recycle to the top of the technological heap again? That could be a long, depressing wait.
But I have fabulous news.
And this is what brings me to my REAL findings about technological "have-ism." When we look at ANY civilization, no matter how advanced, it has actually always been an INSIGNIFICANT, MICROSCOPIC percentage of the population who has actually FIGURED OUT how to DO STUFF. We may look at ancient Egypt and say..."Boy, those ancient Egyptians were all so smart! We STILL can't figure out how they built those Pyramids!"
No. It wasn't all those ancient Egyptians who were so smart. It was ONE or TWO ancient Egyptians who figured out how to build a pyramid. All the rest just followed blueprints. Or parchments.
Or we look at all the millions of teenagers with their Ipods and Wii's and say, "Boy, this generation is sure technologically savvy!"
No. There isn't a teenager in a million who could BUILD an ipod or a Wii. It's a handful of geeks in Silicon Valley. The rest are just users.
This information can, of course, be a source of great hope...or great despair.
On the despair side...your chances of being a Steve Wozniak are about nil.
On the great hope side....your chances of becoming the next Steve Wozniak are about the same whether you live in Atherton or Bangladesh.
Now you know.
Causes Eric Nichols Supports
Free Burma Rangers, Partners Ministries (Thailand), Literacy council of Alaska, Access Alaska.