A self-important college freshman at a football game took it upon himself to explain to a senior citizen resting on the steps why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his generation.

“You grew up in a different world; actually an almost primitive one,” the student said loud enough for others to hear. “The young people of today grew up with television, jet planes, space travel, man walking on the moon. We have nuclear energy, ships, cell phones, computers that work at light speed, and much more.” 

After a brief silence, the senior citizen responded as follows: “You are right son. We did not have those things when we were young…so we invented them. Now, you arrogant child, what are you doing for the next generation?

I guess the story is an urban myth. Regardless, the freshman’s mistake was to believe that technology equals advancement, or at least a cultural gap. It doesn’t.

Technology is almost irrelevant to human nature. It enables us to do some activities faster, and others for the first time. Technology doesn’t change our attitudes; it doesn’t change our need for love and significance. It doesn’t make us better people. That was the philosophy of the Enlightenment: poverty that caused crime, and the cycle of poverty continued as children learned from how their parents lived. Education, it was believed, would make people better.

Sure, if people have to steal to feed their family, that’s justified. The person who steals to feed their family has essentially no choice. The point is, they wouldn’t steal if they had money to buy bread. However, many people who have more than enough still steal. Wealthy people can cheat on their partner, lie, gossip, slander, are sarcastic and contemptuous.

It’s not what goes into our mind that makes us good or bad. We show who we are by what we say and what we do. We may claim to believe something, but our words and actions demonstrate what we actually believe.

Education and technology enable us to do what we want to do. They don’t change want we want to do, or who we are.