The Blasted GRE – Round 1

So, I’ve run up against another barrier to my writing.  I have taken on the mighty task of studying for the GRE in order to make myself graduate school worthy.  (I want to enrol in a Masters of Education program).  Now my free time has been filled with studying, editing, child playing, and not enough sleep.  This leaves me with zero blog time.

However!  I do have to practice for the writing prompts, and as such, I thought I would post them as prompts for anyone wanting to take a crack at boring old ‘analytical writing’.  (so fun, I know!)  But, hey, if you’re interested, the only rule is that you have to follow along with the directions in the prompt and you have to give yourself a 30 minute time limit.  So, as soon as you start reading the prompt, hit the timer.  It’s a lot harder than it sounds!

This was my first crack at it.  Let me know what you think.  Then you take a shot and ping me back in the comments.  Then you too can go to grad school and pay a lot of money for too much education!  Yay!

All joking aside, I love school.  It’s one of the few things I am really good at.

What follows is the prompt… then my 30 minute response.  Enjoy!

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take.  In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position. 

The advancement of technology in the world has made many tasks much simpler for the average man, but it has also crippled him in many ways.  There is no better example of this than the cellular phone.

One problem lies not in the technology itself, but what happens when it fails.  With the invention of the cellular phone tasks such as understanding and reading a map have become a forgotten skill.  It was not long ago that the average citizen would carry a map in their vehicle wherever they went and could call on it in times of trouble.  Now, with the advent of GPS and its inclusion in nearly every cellular smart phone on the market, along with Google’s never-ending quest to map the world, why would one need to understand how to read a map?  Yet there have been cases where a person relied too heavily on their cellular phone and GPS only to have it die and no longer even carry the map that might have saved them.  Those that do may be so unfamiliar with how to read said map that they would be better off without it.  So now you are as lost as the skill you abandoned when you entrusted technology with guiding you safely from one point to the next.

The advances made in cellular and smart phone technology have also had a negative impact on the human race’s interpersonal interactions.  Put more simply, it has made communication between people more strained and awkward.  A perfect example of this is in taking pictures.  There was a time not 5 years ago when people would walk up to perfect strangers without hesitation and ask for them to snap a photo for them.  Now, with the advent of the, “selfie stick,” even that has become obsolete.  Traveling around the world you sit in airports, train stations, buses, or parks and more often than not you will see people with their heads down looking into their cellular phones.  The irony is that many of them will be searching around on ‘social media’ for friends when actual human beings are right in front of them, but why interact with non-digital people when those inside your phone can seem so much less threatening. 

Then there is dealing with something as simple as boredom.  There was a time when a human being could sit through a ten minute train ride and enjoy the scenery.  How often does one see people looking out of windows now or simply staring into space, dreaming.  Again, why do this when a cellular phone can help fill those hours of boredom with images and instant messages.  In this way technology has made it so that man is now not equipped with dealing with himself for long stretches of time.  Even mountainside resorts now come equipped with wifi and cellular coverage whereas only a few short years ago that was a perk of going to a distant location to vacation, to escape that connection.  Now people simply cannot live without it.  We cannot enjoy our vacations without the phone to connect us to our digital world.

So humans are losing the ability to navigate the world without technology, leaving us roaming about literally lost.  We also are losing the ability to communicate face to face with other members of the human race, thus hindering our capacity to navigate the real life social world.  To top this all off, we cannot find way to entertain ourselves devoid of the technology that has left us so crippled.  Technology has given the human race many gifts and strengthened our ability to accomplish tasks that were previously impossible, but it has also dulled our basic humanity and weakened many fundamental skills that will certainly become essential if and when that technology fails.

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