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Thursday 27 June 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Is the 21st century our final frontier?

THE EDITOR: Within recent times, I have found myself losing faith in the fidelity of political decision makers, church and corporate leaders, and technology. I say this against the background of emerging news about the failure of political leadership in nations around the globe – particularly the US and the UK.

I am also appalled by the betrayal of church leaders and the cowardice and unethical behaviour of corporate leaders. Further, I am intrigued by, or perhaps obsessed with, the view that technology is racing towards the last frontier of progress with fatal consequences.

This obsession is currently fed by the fatal crashes of two of the Boeing Company’s latest creations and the projections by researchers of the power of artificial intelligence and 5G technology.

Yes, indeed! We human beings have made remarkable and incredible progress since the 15th century. However, man’s greed and arrogance have made no related leaps and bounds. One may even conclude that his ego may have inflated itself as a result of his technological and intellectual successes.

The questions we may now ask are to what extent can we: Think of saving man from himself by reining him in? Put faith in the infallibility of political, church, and corporate decision making, and technology?

History has taught me that the more successful man becomes is the more arrogant and reckless he tends to be. As a former educator at all levels of our education system, I have discovered that rigour has been declining rapidly over the past 60 years.

The students with whom I interacted concentrated on exhausting books from cover to cover instead of spotting questions for examinations. I recall students preparing for examinations in 1962 working on examination papers as far back as 1932. Their cry often was, “What can they bring for us that we do not know?”

These students never used one book when studying. Above all, they all seemed so self-reliant in comparison with the spoon-fed students of today. When it came to reading, their appetite was insatiable.

The point of this letter is to hint at the mounting evidence which suggests that the weakness of the 21st century may well be in the ideology, humanitarian focus, and ethical principles of its political, corporate, and church leaders, and in us as members of the masses.

Can we help ourselves to avoid destruction? Or has the ongoing renaissance become so intense that it has rendered our self-destruct path inevitable?

RAYMOND S HACKETT, Curepe

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