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An Analysis of the Significance of Guns as a Technology - Essay Example

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An Analysis of the Significance of Guns as a Technology

Some of these groups had competed against each other for food and survival; those who lasted a bit longer managed to do so with the introduction of new technologies, the use of “advanced weaponry” through the use of javelins, spears, knives and arrows for big-game hunting. It may be right to say the first arms race among humans occurred between cavemen using wood clubs.1 Human societies progress and change over long periods of time through either of the two change processes: evolutionary and revolutionary change. The first is gradual while in the latter, it is a drastic change which entails an inflection point which is a break in the pattern of things. Inflection points are potentially disruptive, as what Andy Grove in giant chip maker of Intel pointed out, a change which people must embrace and adopt, in order to survive (Grove 105) because these points alter the existing paradigms and status quo and even risky at times. American sociologist William Fielding Ogburn described social change as either a material or non-material change (an example of material change was the introduction of the iron plow) or in the case of non-material change, the rise of capitalism and its opposite, communism. Discussion Many changes occurred as human societies and civilization progressed, which had in a way contributed greatly to our improvement. Ogburn traced social changes to introductions of new technologies, with three distinct phases in it, which are: invention, discovery and later, diffusion (Ogburn 77). Invention is the creation of something entirely new, such as a device. Discovery relates to the process of learning something that is totally new or ascertaining what is new as something that was previously overlooked or unrecognized. Diffusion is the spread of knowledge related to the invention and discovery to other groups of people able to use it. In this regard, gun technology underwent these three phases Ogburn had mentioned. Gun technology came about as the direct consequence of the invention of gunpowder in China which changed weaponry to a great extent, in a sense people are now able to fight each other at some distance from each other, unlike before when they need to be in close proximity. This development has a profound effect on warfare, colonization, empire building, the spread of human civilization, religion and culture; the entire trajectory of human history has been in a way influenced by the discovery of gunpowder and the development of gun technology. Even today, modern societies are shaped to a certain extent by the use of guns in a violent manner, such as the rise of drug cartels and other organized international crime syndicates. Ancient Chinese had accidentally discovered gunpowder in their search for an elixir for immortality (the equivalent of the Fountain of Youth) but used this new-found formula for fireworks displays in attempts to drive away evil spirits but soon adapted its explosive power to the art of warfare in the use of artillery, and later on, in firearms and handguns. A diffusion of this knowledge was spread by the Mongols in their conquest of Europe and the Asian plain. It followed exactly the pattern of three phases as enumerated by sociologist Ogburn.2 Significance of Gun Technology – the invention and acquisition of gun technologies allowed the Western countries to dominate the world in the earlier ...Show more

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Student's Full Name: The Significance of Guns (as a technology) 24 April 2012 (estimated word count = 1,313) Introduction The early humans who lived in caves had relied on their brute physical power so that they could survive in the wild…
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