One of the common battles we seem to be dealing with as a society is that involving the relationship between traditional practices and protocols and new technologies that can call the old way of doing things into question.
The development and refinement of drone technology over the past few years, for example, can spark questions on issues of privacy, as well as security, and the ethics of blasting one out of the sky with a 12-gauge or whacking it down with a tennis racket. I'm sure the world's philosophy corporations are working double shifts, pondering it all. Better them than me, I suppose.
But, that being said, it's nice when the old and the new can come together harmoniously. Such was the case, as I read recently, in Vatican City. As Reuters reported in January:
"The Vatican's Swiss Guard, the colorfully dressed mini-army that helps protect the pope, will have cooler heads now they have swapped their ancient metal helmets for ones made by 3-D printers.
"The new helmets, made of a thermoplastic, were distributed to the corps on Tuesday (Jan. 22), the 513th anniversary of their foundation as a mercenary force in 1506."
The new helmets are cheaper and quicker to produce and more lightweight.
They were designed based on scans of helmets from the 16th century. Since they are used for ceremonial purposes and not legitimate defense, the trade from steel to plastic only made sense.
"We have to keep up with the times," Guard Commander Christoph Graf said, in other reports on the development.
Good advice. I wish more of us would take it to heart, me included.
I fail at this frequently, resisting any notion of change because: a) it runs counter to the way I'm used to; or b) because I don't understand it.
A lack of understanding can lead to fear. And, as Yoda so wisely observed, "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
The advances, the pace of change - it's all accelerating. And I'm afraid it will be easier and easier to get lost and confused and fall into that sequence of negativity.
But it doesn't have to be that way. That's one of the beautiful things about technology. If you don't understand something, all you have to do is look it up. There's bound to be someone (probably a lot of someones) out there with their own YouTube video explaining it to you.
You still have the power to embrace it or reject it. But you'll be doing so with some degree of awareness, not just a knee-jerk reaction of "I don't like it," a caveman's blind spear-thrust into the darkness at the growl of an unseen beast.
We have to keep up with the times. We can't hide in our own caves. There's a whole world out there, where exciting and wonderful things are happening - ventures into space, breakthrough cures for diseases. It's worth taking a look, in my opinion, even if it seems a little scary. Just print your own helmet and give it a shot.