“Let us hush this cry of ‘Forward’, till ten thousand years have gone.” ― Alfred Tennyson
“The fact that we have been able to perturb the carbon cycle with our industrial revolution is evidence of how vulnerable we are – because when we destroy our environments, we destroy our food and energy supplies. In short, we destroy ourselves.” ― Annalee Newitz
“Even our best endeavors turn against us. A loom that can do the work of eight men should free eight men from servitude. Instead, seven skilled men are put out of work to starve with their families, and one skilled man because of the unskilled minder of the mechanical loom. What is the point of progress if it benefits the few while the many suffer?” ― Jeanette Winterson
“We must always remember that the fossil fuel era began in violent kleptocracy, with those two foundational thefts of stolen people and stolen land that kick-started a new age of seemingly endless expansion. The route to renewal runs through reckoning and repair: reckoning with our past and repairing relationships with the people who paid the steepest price of the first industrial revolution.” ― Naomi Klein
You might wonder why this blogger is answering a Mechanical/Industrial photo subject challenge with such strong sentiment against the Industrial Revolution. Allow me to illustrate my perspective:
I worked for three seasons as a costumed interpreter at a living history museum, Old World Wisconsin. I had the unique opportunity to sample 19th century living from the comfort of a 21st century life. This came at a time in my life when I had an empty nest and no longer owned property. The slower pace allowed me to think quite a lot about the bigger picture of how to live. The tyranny of personal acquisition and advancement had lost its urgency, and I discovered an expansive outlook on the interdependence of living things. The contrasts presented in my work were remarkable. Busloads of urban kids from Milwaukee saw firsthand that food didn’t originate in a metal and glass store. The US Army sent personnel to learn farming technology that wasn’t dependent on electrical and fossil fuel infrastructure so that they could assist war-torn villages in Afghanistan. I learned that personal comfort and convenience could be sacrificed for a more balanced existence with natural resources and processes.
I don’t imagine that turning back time is possible; I don’t pretend that technological discoveries aren’t beneficial. I believe in the inherent worth of all living things and respect the web of existence of which we are but a small part. I fear the consequences of human domination and consumption on our planet. I hope that new information can lead to new wisdom.
I appreciate the challenge our host, John Steiner, initiated. It’s definitely a subject worth reflecting on, in images and life choices.
Excellent discussion and perfect photo illustrations!
I appreciate your comments, and as someone who’s been around some 7+ decades, I have seen so many of these changes myself. As we move from the industrial age to the information age, things are not particularly improving. >grin<
But for me, it's about the photos. Nice collection of images to fit the challenge. I appreciate the people who take time to be docents.
Thanks, John. I have to admit it was the most stimulating minimum-wage job I ever held or could imagine holding!
I am sure it would be interesting, especially meeting people with questions!
Very well thought out and written post, Pricilla. And I agree that you have a wonderful collection of photographs for this topic.
Thanks, Pat! I wish I could have brought my camera to work more often, but it wasn’t really period-appropriate. But so many great things to capture!
I see we were thinking along similar lines this week Priscilla. I share your concerns and think/hope the next generation also sees the importance of preserving nature while benefitting from technology. Greater minds than our will hopefully find the right balance before it’s too late.
My sincere hope as well, Tina. 🙂
Wow Priscilla, you took this challenge to a new level. We think along similar lines. Right now I’m typing on a computer that is connected to the Internet. I remember using the typewriter and the electronic typewriters were the latest thing. Where do we go from here??
Good question. I hope we come up with some good, wise answers. 🙂
Great photos, superb insights. ‘What hath God wrought?’
Thanks, John. “Our house is on fire.”
We are a sad species.