In this interesting and sad piece on technology and World War I, Michael Sacasas looks at the loss of faith in technology as an unalloyed positive force. Scientists and engineers had spent years perfecting tools for destruction, and a generation was lost to their efficacy.
I was particularly struck by J.R.R. Tolkien’s quote.
One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression, but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.
It’s been 100 years, but the war still reverberates.