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Since your question of "Why is technology good now?" is listed under Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery," I will help to answer your question using the story as backdrop, focusing on:

  1. whether the use of the black box in the story would have been considered as using "technology"
  2. how their view of this technology as "good" could be interpreted in modern times.

In the story "The Lottery," the use of the black box is arguably a form of macabre technology that is used every year to determine the fate of one of the villagers. This technology existed for generations prior to the story and has its origin in some mysterious ritual that, like other similar rituals of its kind, is conducted with the belief that it will influence the village's crop production.

The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.

This rudimentary technology, even though they use it in a much more modern time, is considered "good" because it helps them fix a problem or resolve a situation. They even stop using wood chips, changing to paper strips because the strips are more efficient than wood chips, considering how much the population has increased.

So, not only is their technology considered "good," but they even modified it to make it more beneficial to them.

The same concept of technology applies identically to modern times. We consider "good technology" anything that fixes our problems, extends our lives, brings us profit, or just helps us understand the world around us in a better way. This is how technology "good" by modern standards.

However, when technology is used for a situation such as the one in the story by Shirley Jackson, the view of this technology would not be "good" because, even though technology could be used to ease out the lives of the villagers, it is still going to be used for unethical purposes.

Still, from the perspective of these very strange individuals, their technology is considered "good" because they choose their next sacrificial victim in a "fair" way. Therefore, in "The Lottery," there is a technology which is considered "good" even though it is for the purposes of killing a fellow villager at random. This is because from their perspective, it helps them solve a problem.

In modern times, the view of technology is very similar. As long as it serves and achieves a purpose, it is considered "good." We just need to be very careful as to why we are using it, with what goal, and who gets impacted as a result of its usage.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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