GRE Issue Essay 199
“Facts are stubborn things. They cannot be altered by our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions.”
There are certain globally accepted facts which we feel cannot be challenged. This is how our ancestors also felt, but time has proved that certain facts could be altered to quite an extent, if not completely. Man’s wishes have propelled him to develop technology that can assist him in modifying facts as per his wishes. However, there is no certainty that all facts can be modified in a similar manner. On the other hand, we do not know what the future holds for us. We may be able to develop technology that gives humans the power to modify almost every existing fact. Therefore, in the present context, it is not necessary that none of the existing facts can be altered as there may be certain facts that have already been altered or will probably be modified by humans.
It is an age-old fact that people cannot fly. Our ancestors tried to imitate birds by making artificial wings to satisfy the wish to fly free in the air. There are innumerable stories of people who attempted to fly and jumped off cliffs with artificial wings only to meet a fateful end. Centuries later, the fact that Man can never fly has been technologically modified in such a way that flying like a free bird in the air has become a popular sport. People go for Para drops, hot-air ballooning, hand gliding, bungee jumping etc. to experience the exhilarating feeling of flying free in the air. Transportation by air is another aspect of the modification of the said fact for making it possible for people to travel by air in large groups. Though the fact that Man cannot fly still remains undisputed, Man has been able to refute this fact to quite an extent by utilizing technology.
Death is inevitable and so is old age. However, take a look at the latest cosmetic tools available that defy old age. Botox injections, face-lifts, cosmetic surgery etc. are all used by the people who can afford them to conquer age. The fact that age will show on one’s face sooner or later has been modified by humans by developing technology that can either delay the onset of wrinkles or can iron out the wrinkles by cosmetic surgery. There are numerous celebrities who do not look their actual age because they can afford to undergo treatments for turning back the clock. However, there is no permanent solution to the problem of ageing. The effects of anti-ageing treatments are temporary and age will start showing if one is not regular with the treatments. Therefore, the fact remains that ageing cannot be stopped, but man has been able to suitably modify this fact to meet his desires.
The facts being discussed above may have been termed as stubborn facts by our ancestors, but today’s generation no longer finds these facts stubborn as they are living in an era when these facts have been modified. Similarly, facts that are considered stubborn and unshakeable today may not necessarily be treated in the same way in the future as well. There could be a giant leap in technology and Man may come up with the knowledge to modify most existing facts to cater to his inclinations and desires. However, there will always be certain facts such as the rules governing the rotation and revolution of the earth, the modification of which may probably be beyond the power of Man. In sum, it can be said that barring some stubborn facts, Man has been able to alter most facts and will continue to do so in the future also.