Technology Going Out of Control in By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet

Categories: Literature

Technology, where would we be without it? Now in days, you can do just about anything within seconds because of a small but powerful device called a “smartphone”. Not to mention the new technology like tablets that have Snap-On keyboards, 60 inch paper-thin TVs and how about the new Next-Gen consoles that have almost life-like graphics? Sometimes I feel like technology moves too fast, I mean when I get my new iPhone for Christmas, I soon find out Apple announces their new “innovative product” the “iPhone 6″.

This is what I think John means at the end of “By the Waters of Babylon”, we are simply “eating knowledge too fast” or in other words, our technology is beginning to get out of hand and soon technology itself will one day overrule us and potentially destroy us as a society.

From the story John encounters several devices that we may know as a sink, a light bulb and a cooking stove. John describes these devices as magic but the magic is now “gone”.

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When he says this, it made me realize how much technology has affected human civilization and how much it has progressed through the years. Light proved to be a fast-growing technology itself, it first came from a natural fire to candles to lamps and finally to what we use today, light bulbs. And even now we have LED lights and flashlights on our smartphones. When John steps outside at night he describes it as not being night at all, he sees “lines of lights” all around him and describes it as a strong magic.

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John is describing the bright lights of our modern cities from skyscrapers and street lights. I thought it was crazy to think that once people has live with complete darkness everywhere and because of technology, like what John says, night now seems like day. I can guess that maybe one day in the future, lights will get so bright that the stars in the night sky won’t be visible at all and this is because of our rapid growth of technology and over time it is just going to get fast and more complex.

Towards the end of the story, John describes a “time of great burning and destruction” and how towers fall and people scatter like ants. The most intriguing thing I thought John says is that even after the destruction and many years after, the poison still stayed in the ground. John is referring to “Fallout” after a nuclear explosion. This is why I feel one day Technology will overrule us. History repeats itself, throughout the years there have been many wars for several types of reasons and in each of those wars, the progress of technology just helped add to the destruction to our own race. Just to think one day technology will just get so out of hand that our own weapons will just eventually destroy the Earth. Even now, countries threaten to use nuclear weapons and soon these nuclear weapons may turn in to something more deadly.

In the end, technology is great and continues to provide innovation, entertainment and products that just simply make life easier but sometimes we need to take it slow and think about the simpler things in life and just take a break from it all. If we continue at the pace that we are at, one day technology itself will wind up being the reason why humans are extinct.

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Technology Going Out of Control in By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet. (2022, Apr 03). Retrieved from

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