Young Writers Project: Inventions We Wish Hadn’t Been Invented

Age 16, Corinth
Monday, December 18, 2017

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit based in Burlington that engages middle and high school students from anywhere in the world to write, to express themselves with confidence and clarity and to connect with authentic audiences. YWP publishes local writing every week in this newspaper; through YWP’s website, youngwritersproject.org, and monthly digital magazine, The Voice; before live audiences; and with other media partners, including vtdigger.org and vpr.net. YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing.

This week’s prompt: Invention. What is something you wish had never been invented? And general writing.

Cell phones

Sometimes the things we like the most are things that are slowly destroying us. Phones are one such thing.

Have you ever taken the time to look around in a place where people are waiting; if you do, I can almost guarantee that at least half the people will be looking at their phones. Have you ever known someone who cannot take their hands off their device, and you find them staring at it every free second that they have?

Well, the simple truth is, most of us have, and frankly that is sort of scary. How can it be good for us to be constantly connected and addicted to our devices, unable to break free from the pull, always being stuck in the social scene at school?

I see this every day at school; during class time the Wi-Fi is turned off, and the cries of protest that I hear make it seem almost as if the school were starving us of food and water. It is honestly sort of disturbing how dependent on our devices we have become. It’s sometimes enough to make me wish that they had never been invented.

Read the full story at youngwritersproject.org/node/19297.

Cotton Gin

Although the cotton gin’s function seems innocuous (making the process of harvesting cotton faster), it actually made the world a significantly worse place. The cotton gin was invented in 1793 and came into widespread use in the American South in the 1800s. Unfortunately, by far its primary use was by slaves to increase their efficiency. In fact, the cotton gin increased efficiency so much that cotton production on plantations grew exponentially. This led slaveholders to invest more in slavery as the primary mode of the economy in the South. While in the late 1700s, slavery was seen as necessary to the American economy but nevertheless an evil, the increased potential for financial gain led many rich plantation owners in the South to justify slavery as a good thing, convincing many people of that over the next several decades, and eventually becoming a large part of what created the institutional racism still prevalent in our society.

If the cotton gin had never been invented, cotton production likely would have remained relatively slow. Without a worldwide demand for cotton from the South, slavery would not have been as profitable and likely wouldn’t have been defended by slaveholders nearly as emphatically. Eventually, due to general dislike for slavery, it probably would have died out as a practice, with perhaps millions fewer people being enslaved and without the hundreds of thousands of Americans dying in the Civil War. Over the next few centuries, there would probably be significantly less racism in society, possibly even practically none at some point, which of course would lead to everyone being happier and many fewer people dying or being assaulted or targeted unfairly by other people or the government, and likely just leading to a better society in general.

Read the full story at youngwritersproject.org/node/19256.

General writing

Starling on the Wire

Look upon the twisted wire —

The one that's filled with burn —

Blackened not by flaming fire

But rather star of birds.

The cry of startled Hearts who beat,

The whir of fleeing Wings,

And all but one lone bird has flown-

To darken light — like screams.

One little starling still remains —

Who fled the fleeing — flood.

The fear that caused the birds to feign

The unison of One.

Oh, little Bird who shuns the Sky —

What horrors have you seen?

They numb you to the fears that hide,

So change you will not heed.

Or are you caged in Loneliness?

The knowing — that all else

Shall not Your presence know nor miss —

With not a soul to help.