154. Reading Skills Comprehension: Great Defect

By | March 19, 2022
Great Defect


Read the following passages carefully and answer the following:

  The third great defect of our civilization is that it does not know what to do with its knowledge. Science has given us powers fit for the gods, yet we use them as small children. For example, we do not know how to manage our machines. Machines were made to be humanity’s servants, yet man has grown so dependent on them that they are in a fair way to become his masters. Already most people spend most of their lives looking after and waiting upon machines. And the machines are very stern masters. They must be kept at the right temperature. And if they do not get their meals when they expect them, they grow sulky and refuse to work or burst with rage and blow up and spread ruin and destruction all around. So we have to wait upon them very attentively and do all that we can to keep them in a good temper. Already we find it difficult either to work or play without the machines and a time may come when they will rule us all together, just as we rule the animals.

 And this brings me to the point at which I asked, “What do we do with all the time which the machines have saved for us, and the new energy they have given us?” On the whole, it must be admitted, we do very little. For the most part, we use our time and energy to make more and better machines which will give us still more time and still more energy, and what are we to do with them? The answer, I think, is that we should try to become more civilized. For the machines themselves, and the power which the machines have given us, are not civilization but aids to civilization. But you will remember that we agreed at the beginning that being civilized meant making and linking beautiful things, thinking freely and living rightly and maintaining justice equally among people. A person has a better chance today to do these things than he/she ever had before; he/she has more time, more energy, less to fear and less to fight against. If he/she will give his/her time and energy which his/her machines have won for him/her to make more beautiful things, to find out more and more about the Universe, to remove the cause of quarrels between nations, to discover how to prevent poverty, then I think our civilization would undoubtedly be the greater as it would be more lasting than it has ever been.

1. On the basis of your reading, answer the following questions.   

(a) Why can’t human beings manage without machines?                                                                   

 (b) How would we keep machines in a good temper?                                                                             

 (c) Why would machines one day rule us?                                                                     

(d) How do we spend the time machines save for us?                                                 

2.Find meanings of the words given below with the help of options that follow each of them:

 (a) stern         (i) strict        (ii) good          (iii) rude           (iv) gentle                                           

 (b) temper    (i) heat       (ii) mood          (iii) hope           (iv) hot                                                  

(c) energy       (i) harm      (ii) food            (iii) power       (iv) help                                                

(d) quarrels    (i) games    (ii) fights           (iii) joys          (iv) trips                                                 


1.(a) Human beings can’t manage without machines as they’ve grown dependent on them for things big and small.

(b) Machines must be kept at the right temperature, given their ‘meals’ when expected, and must be waited on by humans patiently and attentively to be kept in good temper.

(c) Humans are dependent on machines for both work and play. They have to be looked after too. So they may eventually rule humans.

(d) The time saved for us by machines is largely used to make even better machines to save more time and energy.

2.(a) (i) strict (b) (ii) mood (c) (iii) power (d) (ii) fights

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