Educational Technology

Imparting knowledge and skills onto younger generations is an important goal for education as is the notion of producing those who can think on a deep analytical level to solve problems that inevitably continue to rise now and far into the foreseeable future. Creating a genuine learning environment to simulate challenges applicable to real world so that these rising students are able to use everything they have learned is also of a paramount result of education.

With education being so contained within a medium of technology due to the modern society we live in, I cannot help but feel that rising students may lose on some opportunity to hands on teaching and the immediate response from a teacher or professor. Even as someone that is wholly introverted, I still fondly recall some of the instructors I genuinely liked that enjoyed molding the minds of those who were most interested in learning and had great aspirations for their own future.

Heidegger has always stood by this notion that we should perceive the world as an artist or poet. I think what he’s trying to say here is that we should not lose sight of how our freedom allows us to obtain knowledge and live to the philosophy of becoming deeper thinkers and those readily able to apply what we have learned through our lives. He sees us as being chained to technology and unfree so our own powers and capabilities should not be something that we take for granted. It’s important we maintain a focus on how important humanity is instead of always relying on the technology we are building. Because without the human power behind these technological advancements they would be without power to begin with. Even with technology heavily controlling education, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, one must not forget that humans are not just a resource that is to be exploited. I cannot deny the practical usefulness for technology during the pandemic and am not taking up some anti-technology movement but merely am I trying to apply Heidegger’s words to how our reliance of it could cause issues of disconnection and disassociation in the future of our technology driven society.

Both of these elements must be used in tandem with one another because technology is an important tool to benefit for learning and is very much integral to the process of meeting the three baseline goals, I mentioned in the very first two sentences. The human element is one that needs to remain free and not tethered to the technology, so we don’t become overly reliant on it even if finding the balance between the two of them is going to continue to be a difficult struggle no matter what time we live in. It’s something that I fear will be something that may continue to get worse before it ever becomes better and hopefully it’s not something that’s a case of “too little too late” because our society is very much determined and molded by our technologies instead of prominently by the people who stand behind their creations.

I cannot imagine Heidegger would be as happy with the state of the world in 2022 given we have done exactly what he had most feared, allowing ourselves to remain in a state of slavery to technology. He would walk down the streets to see everyone staring at their phones, rating their importance by metrics on social media, rarely making the effort to acknowledge the people that are in front of them. It’s a sad notion that education has become what modern technology has decided is important instead of what one can learn in institutes of learning.

A Thin Line

So I don’t seem like a hypocrite, I’m going to maintain the idea that I feel it is more of a moral good for me to fix the genetic problems of my child before they are born. I still don’t want to seem as if I’m supporting the notion of eugenics but if I had the opportunity to keep my child from being born with down syndrome, as was mentioned in a previous blog post, then I would seize that opportunity so they could experience the beauty of the world in a similar fashion to what I was able to growing up. All of the sights of stunning landscapes, the smells of mouth-watering food, and the sounds of pleasant ambient or emotionally evocative music would be lost or the quality of it lessened by a considerable degree if some measure of genetic mutation prevented them from truly experiencing it.

During this conversation in class I mentioned the subject of HRT, hormone replacement therapy, and how while it has the word therapy in it I believe it is more of an enhancement because it is used in many cases to improve upon the life of the individual in question that is seeking to be the person that they see themselves as. This is not simple therapy, which I believe is usually synonymous with something like recovery from an accident or some manner of trauma. But I truly believe it to be an enhancement given it improves the person’s quality of life even though it doesn’t give them any genuine advantage or genetic improvement to allow them to do better in life; it simply allows them to live the best life that they have always wanted and no longer feel trapped in a body that they don’t see as their own.

I believe it is absolutely possible to draw a line between these two concepts but it’s just a matter of how people perceive these concepts in the first place, and I think that’s where the big problem is going to become the crux of the overarching issue. The distinction is very relevant, especially when considering medical care and the opportunities that individuals would have in the American healthcare system. Many of these opportunities are lost just because “enhancements” like HRT as an example is inordinately expensive and thus are not accessible to everyone. Hells, even simple therapy for physical and mental trauma aren’t as readily available to the average person. So perhaps in that sense the line is a razor thin margin and in the eyes of big pharmaceutical companies it doesn’t matter if it’s therapy or enhancements because all they see is the capitalist profit, they can make from offering things that should be freely open to any who might need it. Do I know where the line should be? I guess it seems a little more obvious to me but I’m probably just speaking as a naïve idealist and not someone that is operating in the pragmatic or realist mindset that I often focus upon.

Moral Ambiguity?

“Reflect on the moral differences between aborting a fetus that possesses the genetic mutation for down syndrome and preventing the fertilization process of egg and sperm that would lead to the same mutation.”

When it comes to the notion of morality regarding abortion, I already have much to say on the topic, but this isn’t a pro-life vs. pro-choice topic so I’ll try to keep my opinions on that out of the conversation as best as possible. Though, it is likely to come up in some potentially overt or subtle ways.

I believe that it is preferable to abort a fetus that possesses down syndrome because what quality of life is this person going to have? Naturally, I have encountered people throughout my life that have down syndrome or other genetic mutations that affect them on a similar level, and they seem happy in their blissful unawareness and maybe it’s just because they don’t have any other concept of living. But I would pity my own child that wouldn’t be able to experience life in the same way I have an appreciate everything with the understanding that I have. There’s honestly no way I would want a child of mine born with down syndrome so they wouldn’t have to live trapped in their own mind while a mutation controlled their life. It’s not even that I wouldn’t want to care for or love a child with down syndrome before anyone believes this is my stance but it’s just that I would want them to have a higher quality of life to fully appreciate the beauty our world has to offer.

I’m curious if there really is a moral dilemma about preventing fertilization that would result to the same mutation? If one could pre-emptively stop something like this from happening is it truly something considered potentially immoral? There’s obviously the moral question of allowing a child a chance to live or stopping a life from being born before it even had a choice of its own. I’m not even talking about fully supporting an idea of eugenics but if you’re able to prevent down syndrome then why would you not take that opportunity? I genuinely don’t see the moral argument here. But that’s just my opinion on the matter even if it may seem disagreeable or horrific to some others.