Then came the idea of increasing the marketing appeal of the game by the addition of helmets, a little bit of padding, and ultimately, such ridiculously extensive full-body padding apparatus that the old limits were discarded. Sleek pads and uniforms covered the head, eyes, jaws, nose, limbs, crotches, etc., and as a result, over the decades, players were able to crash into each other with terrific force (as judged relative to the little water-composed beings doing the crashing). Now, the head, shielded by layers of plastic, foam, and steel, could be rammed at a rigid part of another player's body at full speed, and if anyone bled, it would be largely concealed; surface wound occurrence/notice rates went down.
Concurrently, more insidious damage happened to the players. Football players began getting early-onset dementia at a staggering rate. In exchange for making the sport appear nicer, all the cushioning had in fact allowed deeper, more terrible wounds--Alzheimer's Disease at 35, forgetting your family and how to use the bathroom at 40--to occur. The body used to be its own guard, and while you might bleed or break an arm, the presence of your skeleton would discourage more frequent full-force crashes, because the limitations of skin and bone would guard against constant jarring.
As legions of layered equipment slowed relative sprinting speeds (even as overall speeds increased proportionate to regular increases in measured human athletic ability), players could be proportionately larger, carrying more mass at less cost to movement within the game, and the crashes could get heavier and more frequent. It appeared to be a good idea, if you didn't think about it too much. All that padding makes it look safer, cleaner, and healthier. But underneath it, the dark secret remained: more padding means the ability to disguise the surface pain that the body uses to warn against increasingly traumatic injury. Internal organs, including the brain, began to pick up the tab with irredeemable conditions that replaced a few months nursing a broken leg.
Boxing saw this same transition. The sport initially sold itself as tough and brutal, but after it achieved a little financial success, it vastly increased its market share by sanitizing the blood and padding the fists. Punching someone in the head is a tough business, particularly repeatedly; skulls are hard, and although the target doesn't enjoy being punched, the best-trained, strongest knuckles are generally far weaker than your average skull. As padding increased, blood and cuts and broken fingers went down, and the brain paid the price of making cash-paying fans not have to see all that gross blood: boxers were able to throw so much heavy leather all over the head, rather than timing careful blows to preserve the unguarded knuckles, that they began to get dementia pugilistica and other conditions far worse than broken noses, bruises and bleeding. Because boxing appeared more violent up-front, many more decades of fully-padded knuckles, ready to strike the human head hundreds of times more than un-girded knuckles used to be able to, have brought these effects to boxers generations ahead of what football players are now feeling.
Even cage fighting and mixed martial arts are now suffering this transition. Promoted initially in its American inception by the Ultimate Fighting Championship as raw, bloody, and "real," mixed martial art promoters across the U.S. are now requiring fighters to wear grappling gloves (with increasing levels of padding from the old sparse leather ones), which cushion the knuckles, make the fights appear "cleaner," and allow repeated, heedless, full-force punching to the entire head.
The price will likely be the same as in boxing and football: horrific long-term harm in exchange for a short-term illusion of peace and tidiness. It's not just in professional sports that this pattern appears; humans once defecated by squatting, and in order to remove themselves from this indignity, developed elevated-seat toilets. For the luxury of that unnatural position, they've achieved escalating levels of IBS, hemorrhoids, constipation, and magazine-/computer-using jokes in movies. The kiss of cool, clean porcelain seems like such a good idea, rather than using your legs, but in a long-term medical sense, it's not worth the price.
These are the consequences of a progress in power alone; a progress with concern only for more progress. The "how" is ever there, and good for it, but the absence of the "why" may well prove the overall experiment a failure; the lack of a healthy ethos may rob us of any of the benefits of progress, and leave us in a panopticon whose making can only be attributed to us.
As Michael Crichton warned, once, a martial arts student may have waited for weeks for permission to train, then swept floors for years, then studied for years before learning how to kill with her bare hands; now, a gun may be purchased with, shall we say, far more swiftness (or, more directly related to the point, a week of lessons can immediately teach deadly techniques that can be employed on the unsuspecting).
We've certainly inherited the technology and information-disseminating ability of our mothers and fathers, but to what end? Our ability to make war is now cleaner on the surface, just as the cushioned blow to the boxer's skull appears less brutal than a bare-knuckle strike that splits the scalp at half the speed. However, the consequences that we've learned to ignore are deadlier by far.
But one recent example: modern military forces frequently use depleted uranium munitions in bombs, or on the ground, to punch holes through tanks and buildings and immediately remove the enemy's fighting capability. Perhaps fewer soldiers are killed in the taking of the tank--but the depleted uranium poisons the land for more than The Great Binding Law would allow.
(From Global Research.)
Beyond "seven generations," certainly; think at the least "tens of thousands of years." It effects not only the dark peoples far away; it hits close to home, too, once you've breathed the fumes. Video link, there; check it out.
Denying the first atomic bomb tests, the effects of Agent Orange, or the poisons of "modern" wars go hand in hand. In a hundred years, when the instant national and scientific pride melts away, the cheerleaders of "improved war" will be viewed by history--even a history written by as self-centered an authorship as we have now--as just another set of monsters who didn't care.
The one-eared, conical-headed births of great-great-great-etc. grandchildren 17,000 years after the Iraq War have no place in the script of our glorious technological progress, because for just one day in all of space and time, the only blood some people acknowledge is that of the soldiers listed in government records as formally involved in any given battle. This line of thinking is that of the binge drinker who feels good right now and denies that this may change, or the man who genuinely believes that he can live on credit cards alone because he'll never have to pay the money back (think Homer Simpson chuckling that the house "gets stuck with the bill" for his home equity loan).
DU aside, starvation and denial of water claim lives even in the immediate teevee sense of American "right now." In the span of a few football seasons, even. We may not recall Madeleine Albright's "the price is worth it," so here's a snip:
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.
--60 Minutes (5/12/96)
(courtesy Fair. Video can be googled easily.)
These are not "violent" deaths, nor are they limited to that particular rape of '90s Iraq. Yet, because "the boots of an invading army" were not then heard in Iraq (or in other starved countries), it looked nonviolent, and could be considered "progress." The consequences--children starving slowly to death; perishing of dysentary after water-treatment plants are bombed; getting leukemia from DU shells found near the house--are terribly real, but they're not so glitzy as war movies lead Pinker and Brin, et. al., to expect from "real violence", so they don't exist in their minds. Ergo, progress!
The recent operative parable that frightened away Brin was:
If a man comes to my apartment with a knife, and I go outside and he rapes me, that's "violence." If I see that same man standing outside my apartment with the knife, never come out, and starve to death for fear of leaving and being raped, why does that not count as "violence"?
Unanswerable for some, though it's really a simple question. The woman starving to death is not dying a violent death; "violent," in the sense it's being used in the question, is not "starvation." Any associated Pinker apologists can, quite literally, answer the question without fear, by saying that the second situation is entirely different, because being stabbed is a major thing as far as one person's physical integrity goes, and is utterly different than starving. Depending on one's pain tolerance or personal quirks, it may be better to die by either the knife-rape or the starvation; the starvation could be better, and more humane, in that it could allow the trapped victim time to come to terms with herself and say her goodbyes to the world, where a quick knife injection might not.
Why the fear of the question, though? The cognitive break that Dr. Brin and/or his supporters/Pinker supporters are seeing foreshadowed is the desired end-result of sanitized killing. They don't want to admit that the woman's fear could be legitimate, and that such a legitimate fear could lead to the same effective result--death--as the direct application of the knife, because they need to believe that children disintegrated by cruise missiles or killed by lack of food aren't really being "killed." It's an act of god, for which the technologically-advanced nation can't be held responsible--even if, like a rapist with a knife, the technologically-advanced nation is prowling the skies, seas and roads all around the sanctioned nation, keeping food and medicine from going to its trapped people.
Like boxing, football, and much of the rest of our glittering world, the progress is illusory, and may even be a regress. Serfs now have cable TVs; does watching them at home alone, or with a few family members, beat telling stories by the fire with dozens of one's kith and kin? TVs in and of themselves are great, certainly, but much technological advancement has gone hand-in-hand with the segregating of people from one another. Having 1,100 friends on facebook is great, and communicating with people all over the world on a blog is great, too, but does it beat the 25 really good personal friends you once might've seen every day? Maybe; maybe not. But the latter should not have to be sacrificed for the former to be made possible.
Take also the standard "rape" umbrella: many modern women learn to shut up and not report date rape, or date unwanted-grope, or passing-out-and-possibly-later-being-pregnant; they learn not to go out alone in certain places or at certain times; they learn not to wear certain things in certain places or at certain times. Their fear--their realistic expectation of what might happen in any given place--is often real. Their assessments are often real. Yet, when their vigilance and limited movement keeps them from being raped, it can appear on paper that the problem has vanished entirely. "There's greatly reduced rape," say the worlds' Panglosses. "What progress we've made!"
...citizens no longer revolt so much, because of accurate assessments of what the result would be. And colonized populations die quietly of starvation, aware that even if they steal an AK and shoot six occupying soldiers per civilian freedom fighter, the attack planes will come swiftly down and eliminate the neighborhood.
What has really happened in this sanitization is that people have become more and more accustomed to the increasing technological power of the dominant...well, let's just call them "nations." No longer are open wars declared, and militaries faced off against one another, because each nation already knows which is the superior. Ergo the formal "war" doesn't happen, and the cautious woman is not raped. But this is a cost borne by the terrified woman, or by the weaker army. It is not a justice, but a yielding ahead of time, out of fear, in hopes of avoiding the certain tragedy.
And the ultimate results in numbers of war dead are higher anyway. For the benefit of stabbing fewer people up-front with a sword (ew, bloody, ick!), we progress to stabbing relatively fewer while poisoning dozens or thousands of times more of the children of the land for millenia. For the benefit of fewer dead soldiers, we carpet-bomb enemy locations into chunks of viscera whose numbers can never be accurately counted.
Let us not forget that cleaner horrors aren't just still evil (despite their repackaging since the 8th century), but that they're actually more evil, and dirtier evil. The prevalence of more "advanced" war by robot bombing, veiled diplomatic threats, and economic destruction should not be cheered as a progress, but decried as yet another foul type of weapon serving the same end. Fewer bleeding boxers on Day 1 means more braindead boxers on Year 5. Fewer dead soldiers on Year 5 means mountain-ranges more dead soldiers and civilians and afterborn children on Year 10. Like smoking or sexual abuse, the wounds are on the inside. The snickering catcalls of the fawning pragmatists of the age that "the unseen is not real" are as boorish and willfully ignorant as those who mock the invisibly disabled for using the good parking spaces.