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Pte 70 Score Essay on “Is the Telephone a Curse or a Blessing?”

Is the Telephone a Curse or a Blessing?


A slightly eccentric professor of archaeology in West Africa would neither answer the telephone nor reply to letters. As for letters, he would say, leave them long enough and they answer themselves. As for the telephone, I consider it an unwarranted intrusion. If people want to talk to me they can come and see me. Of course, the world could not carry on in its modern way without the telephone, which has become an essential part of living. Yet, in some respects it can be a curse.

Today, telephonic communication is worldwide and instantaneous. It is possible to dial people at the other end of the world without even going through an operator. This is fine, providing the time-differences are remembered. More seriously, in conjunction with satellite television, world news is instantly on our screens, sometimes even as it happens.

Such exposure of, usually, unhappy events, wars, accidents, acts of terrorism etc can actually have a bad influence on the course of a war, a hostage-taking, or a tribal massacre. When it took a British ship four months to deliver a letter to or from, say, India, the crisis had often been settled locally, with much less anxiety all round.

The telephone has greatly decreased the volume of mail worldwide. Some letters have to be written, of course, but the art of private letter writing has become a dying art. Writing a good letter means first collecting then sorting out one’s thoughts, and the finished article can be something to be proud of, a small masterpiece. And because letters today are considered of secondary importance, mail services in many countries have greatly deteriorated.

One of the most annoying experiences in life is to be seated in somebody’s office and to begin to talk business when suddenly the telephone rings. “Oh, excuse me”, says the official, “I must answer this”. Why should the telephone be given priority over the individual who has taken the trouble to attend in person?

The telephone can become a curse in the home, when it is abused either by the caller or by a family member. Most countries have customary hours for mealtimes, and a caller who is determined to speak to you at all costs will often make use of this knowledge, interrupt your meal, and perhaps or perhaps not apologize for doing so. Small wonder that many people take the phone off the hook when they sit down to eat.

There are the callers you can well do without. Some commercial concerns employ salespeople to use the hard sell on the telephone, and this is becoming such a nuisance that in many cases the problem is being brought under legal control. The worst kind of unwanted calls are abusive calls or obscene calls, made usually, to single women and often late at night. Modern telephone systems can be made to identify the source of these calls, and this should go some way to helping the police solve the problem. Family members have been mentioned, and here one thinks of the commercial exploitation of teenagers who are pressed to use chat-lines to pour out their troubles, or to talk to teenager pals overseas. Neither occupation offers any benefit, and the parents’ phone bill may become astronomical.

Does all this mean that the telephone is really a curse? Of course not. Like any other advance in science the telephone is neutral. If it is abused, it becomes a curse. If properly used it is a great blessing in many ways. To the lonely person, telephone chats are a blessing. To the disabled person, the telephone may be the only means of keeping in touch with family and friends.

To the business, the stock exchange, and countless other features of modern life, the telephone is essential. In the police response to crime, in fire or medical emergencies, the telephone is indispensable. In all matters which require urgent communication and quick response, such as the locating of suitable bodily organs for transplant surgery, the telephone is a boon. For air to ground and ship to shore communication, the telephone is vital. Properly and responsibly used, it is a blessing.


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