19th Century Transformation Essay

Submitted By danles08
Words: 742
Pages: 3

“We do not ride the railroad, it rides upon us.” The late 19th century started what led into a technological and industrial revolution through the United States. People’s strife quickly transitioned into materialism, industry, and commerce. People lost control of themselves and allowed materialistic values to take the reins for years to come. A brilliant transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau, wrote; “We do not ride the railroad, it rides upon us”. It is exactly this; we allow technology and industry, the “train”, to, “ride us”, figuratively, meaning controlling how people live rather than the opposite. Technological and industrial progress largely contributes to individual and social uneasiness. Thoreau’s notion of the people being ridden by the railroad is an extreme paradox. Furthermore, it is obvious that it is highly unethical for a train to be able to ride a person. However, it is the figurative meaning that unveils its hidden meaning. If the train/railroad is viewed as progress through technology and industry, it parallels the mindless behavior of people to allow technology to rule them, even though they are the creators themselves.
As technology advances each day, it takes a higher priority in an individual’s life. That idealized piece of technology is being used more every day for each person, therefore; creating an unnatural and highly undesirable dependence and running their lives. Today, people unconsciously allow phones to run their lives. They spend all day writing emails and texting, rather than enjoying what is natural, the environment/nature. Thoreau is thoughtfully trying to remind everyone that technology is not as important as it may initially seem. It binds them to business/commerce, leading them away from the most basic but essential things of life. Additionally, living in nature is not all bad as Thoreau pleads in his writings. It helps connect to nature as all people are and were additionally born into. Many years back, most if not all people lived as Thoreau did in his time by Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.
Thoreau was able to connect with nature and find more meaningful reason to life. He was reminded everyday of nature’s beauty that surrounded him. He lived without a television, a cell phone, or even anything electrical. These are all essentially and simply distractions when it comes to the bottom of it. In addition, it is these types of distractions that lead people to be as socially awkward as they are in today’s world. They live with phones in hand twenty four hours a day. For example, many people get caught alone for even the slightest of seconds and the immediate reaction built into their brain is to whip out their phone. For those few moments of solitude are quickly striped and are whisked away by a quick read into the latest tweets. There is no more time to soak in life,