man standing off to the side looking down at a marble bust of another man laying atop a pile of broken columns

By the Waters of Babylon

by Stephen Vincent Benét
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List three warnings that you think Stephen Vincent Benet is giving his reader in the story. Of all the warnings, which, if any, do you think is most relevant to the world today? Why? 

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Warning number one could be a warning against losing knowledge.  The story takes place in the future, but all of society's current learning and technology has been lost; therefore, John and his people are essentially living in the 1600's.  

Warning number two could be a warning against gaining too...

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Warning number one could be a warning against losing knowledge.  The story takes place in the future, but all of society's current learning and technology has been lost; therefore, John and his people are essentially living in the 1600's.  

Warning number two could be a warning against gaining too much knowledge.  This warning runs counter to the first warning, which is why this story is so interesting.  The people of the past gained so much knowledge that it destroyed them.  Their knowledge, technology, weapons, etc. led to their annihilation.  

Warning number three could be a general "beware of weapons of mass destruction."  "The Great Burning" in the story is likely a nuclear holocaust.  It killed most of the people on the planet.  With great, powerful weapons comes great responsibility. 

I believe that warning number two is most relevant today.  We have amazing knowledge and technology, and it seems that the rate of gained knowledge is increasing exponentially.  But I do at times think that scientists and engineers are more concerned with whether or not they can do something instead of asking whether or not they should do something. 

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