“The external power of technology”
From early modernity to the present time in history, culture, technology, and society have influenced each other. There are many different opinions and theories on technology's impact on the world, which can be examined using James Carey's 1840's article “Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph” and the 1920s film, Modern Times. Although Modern Times was made almost a century after Carey wrote his article, it can be argued that they both address the same general effects of technology on our individual lives and on our collective culture.
Carey refers to communication as a symbolic process whereby reality is produced maintained repaired and transformed and believes the telegraph has an understated role in future developments in communication. Ultimately, the social needs and aspirations of the American culture were changed by the introduction of the telegraph.
With the invention of the telegraph came the opportunity to transmit news quickly across great distances, which permitted communication all over the world, intertwining different cultures. This aspect relates to Chaplin's decision to make this film almost completely silent, fearing that his non-English speaking fans would feel alienated. As a result of the increase in exposure of other cultures, Chaplin eventually began making films with verbal interaction. However, this telegraph machine reduced the type of news and amount of communication. This not only eliminated context of a situation, but also the details of the event. Americans began to accept this new type of communication and as a result, began applying it to their daily language. This is portrayed in the film as the main character barely talks throughout the movies and the other actors limit their communication as well. This limited communications stems from the fact that their interactions have become the norm. Also, the only voices that are heard in the movie are produced via machines like the...