Depending on Technology

March 28, 2012


depending on a gps is a bad idea

It may have started with the Xbox, the Wii, or the Nintendo gaming systems. For those of us a little older, perhaps it was the Commodore 64 or Atari systems.

Maybe Super Mario is not to blame it all. Perhaps it was a Tom-Tom or an iPod. It really doesn’t matter what our first exposure to technology was. It’s been a slippery slope ever since.

Technology Isn’t All Bad

Since the sweet allure of technology first tempted us with it’s promise to make life easier, or at least more entertaining, we have slowly become dependent on it. Some of us are even addicted to it.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all technology is bad. In fact, I use technology as much as the next guy, probably even more. There are a lot of good uses for technology. For example if my washing machine has broken, I will go online and learn how to fix it myself. I also do a lot of online research before buying a product. And of course cell phones, advances in medicine, and other technologies have provided great benefits as well as save some lives.

The Dangers of Depending on Technology

When we become dependent on technology, we place ourselves into a very precarious position. When it works, everything is fine. But what happens if the technology fails? If we’ve placed all of our trust, and in some cases the fate of our very lives, in technology, a failure could be catastrophic if we don’t have a backup plan.

Consider a couple of examples.


When hiking in the woods or hunting on a four-wheeler, it’s convenient to enter way-points into a GPS as we travel to mark our path back to our vehicles. But what happens if you forget to turn the device off before going to sleep at night? You wake up and the battery is dead. Or maybe you slip while crossing a shallow stream and the case is cracked and full of water. You’re not hurt but your path out has been lost.

Fire building

Thousands of acres go up on smoke each year due to a carelessly tossed cigarette from a passing vehicle or a campfire that has gotten out of control during the night. A family’s life is suddenly shattered when their home is engulfed in flames because of faulty wiring or a heater that’s too close to the curtains. Tragedies to be sure.

It’s events like these lead the casual observer to believe that it’s easy to start a small fire. In truth, it’s not. It takes skill and practice. Even with the latest and greatest fire making equipment it’s sometimes difficult to get a fire going, especially when it’s cold or windy.

So, What Can You Do?

  1. using a map and compassLearn. Identify areas in your life where you’ve become dependent on technology. Take steps to learn the more basic skills that these technologies are designed to help with. For example when going on a hike or hunt, familiarize yourself with the terrain ahead of time, carry a map and compass with you, learn basic orienteering skills ahead of time, and let someone know where you’re going and when to expect you to return. These basic steps will all help ensure you don’t spend longer than necessary in the woods.
  2. Practice. Learning a new skill will go a long way toward helping you to prepare for times when technology may fail you. It’ll also help build confidence. But head knowledge is no replacement for getting out there and trying it out. Practice your new skills every chance you get. Plan your next trip using a map and compass. Start your next fire in the grill using  a ferro rod or magnesium block.
  3. Share. The beauty of learning skills like these is that sharing them with others doesn’t leave you with less. In fact, teaching what you’ve learned to others helps you to understand it even better. To really learn something, prepare to teach it.

So, what are you waiting for? Learn something new, practice it regularly, and share it with someone else.

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5 Comments on “Depending on Technology”

  1. Jarhead Survivor Says:

    You nailed it, Joe! It’s best to have a manual backup because my experience has been that at some point your electronic gizmo will fail. If you don’t have a backup or a clue you could be up a stinky river without a paddle.


    • Joe Says:

      Thanks Jarhead!

      Another case in point: I recently bought a steri-pen for purifying water during hiking trips. I’ll gladly use it, but it’s good to know multiple way to purify water just in case the batteries die, I lose or break the device, etc.





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