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Monday, October 4, 2010

Industrial Revolution: For Better or For Worse

"It contained several large streets all very like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same as yesterday and to-morrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next." --Charles Dickens, Hard Times.

What has driven society to where we are now? Why did people just accept the difficulties of the industrial revolution, and push onward with the way things were? Why haven't we ended up in a society like the "Steampunk" movement has fantasized? Why aren't we living in a Communistic Society that people like Karl Marx called for?

To sum it up in two words, I would say this:


People become comfortable in the society that they live in. They get used to it. That is why the middle classes and the working classes never really rebel; they become comfortable with where they are, and how things are going.

But this doesn't apply to everyone. There are those who want to make the world better. There are people who see the world that they currently live in, and develop new ideas, theories, and inventions, in order to make life better for everyone. Some of these ideas take off. The Crystal Palace.

Electricity. Telephones. The internet. All of these have developed out of our drive, as human beings, to progress.

But what has determined which ideas will "take off", and which ones will end up off the side of the road in the dust?


  1. Sometimes it is easier to just exist rather than to bloom wherever you are planted. Blooming takes energy, focus, determination, and drive... and you never know when you will suddenly be plucked out of your happy home and tossed into the next place - sometimes better, and sometimes worse.

    But, if you bloom everywhere you go, you will find that your life is happier, your home is better, your friends are friendlier, your neighborhood is cleaner, and your face will smile!

  2. The ideas that take off are the ones people can get behind. They are the ones that can lead people to reach their potential. The cause or idea becomes the leader to the people. Check out this post by Shuan Pai in our class. Read the comments afterwards. I think it continues your discussion with what ideas take off and which do not. Also check out our professor's blog post about critical mass and how the idea of riding bikes has taken off in a great cause. Bike riding has become a social advocacy and social fun thing to do.

  3. To answer that question in just one word: luck. Or the Holy Ghost, if you believe in such a being. Think about it, only the inventions have helped the work of the Lord progress have been kept around, everything else is litter on the side of the road. Malcom Gladwell tried to reason out why some people are successful and others are not, in his "Outliers", but how did those people get into those positions? Well they were born there, which for me indicates a plan beyond our own.

  4. Very good point Erin! I think you are really on to something there. I think many of the inventions and improvements that we have in the world today were inspired by God in some way. Even if it is just to improve the lives of humanity, God may help those people so that the lives of His children could be blessed.