Friday, November 2, 2007

The Street Light

The Street Light: There is little doubt regarding the importance of electricity in the industrialized world. It powers our lights, computers, televisions, refrigerators, and even toilets. Yet one cannot help but wonder about the potentially harmful environmental effects that the production of this electricity holds in store for future generations. For example, when a person walks into a bathroom and finds an electric-powered hand dryer, one might think that by not using a paper towel, he is saving a few trees. Upon further investigation, however, this person will discover that the energy required to operate that hand dryer is on par with the logging of a few trees. The point being, man encounters a seemingly lose-lose situation when he attempts to come to terms with his sophisticated, postmodern way of life. A solution to one problem only precipitates another problem further down the road. On a philosophical note, though, the street light offers a rather majestic image to the postmodern eye insofar as it encapsulates and symbolizes the effort by mankind to light the ever-darkening path of progress. And as Louis Brandeis once said, "electric light [is perhaps] the most efficient policeman."