In history, it is often said that the anticipated and experienced changes in the world from 1700 to 1800 were much like the centuries prior – there was little change in those 100 years or in any 100-year period before then.

From 1800 to 1900, almost the same could be said, but some technological changes were noticed (railroads, steel, telegraph, photography and so forth). Then, from 1900 to 2000, the changes were revolutionary.

It almost seems to me that the changes from 2000 to now, late 2017, have exceeded those of the last 100 years.

For the wealthier portions of the population, we see the effects of these daily. For the impoverished, they may not see them so much, but they are aware they exist. For all, they cause torment if not handled properly.

Here in The Highland County Press, for instance, I can carry on long-distance public arguments with a fellow in California whom I have never met. Both of us hail from south- central Ohio, but the way we go at each other, you would think we were from different planets.

It doesn’t look like we are going to change each other’s minds (we have been at this for over five years), and without modern technology, we would never even know each other exists. Is this good or bad? You decide.

So, what technology development is behind the change we have been experiencing? I’ll never forget the report I read on this in the obituary of an actor in the late 1980s. Sadly, I don’t remember his name. I do remember he lived to be about 100 and had been on the stage since around the age of 5.

When asked what was the biggest change he had seen in theater in his 90-plus years of acting, he had a one-word answer: electricity.

That is the answer for all of us. For without electricity, and the finer art of manipulation of this powerful force, most of the change that causes us angst or pleasure would not exist.

Yes, the steam engine and the internal combustion engine did great things, but they pale in comparison to what has been accomplished, good and bad, with electricity.

Some have attempted going off the grid to protect their loved ones from the changes wrought by electricity. The Amish are an example of that.

Others have chosen to voluntarily live grid-free on a solo basis. A fellow columnist here at the HCP (Christine Tailer) has done that.

But really, no one is immune to the effects of our electrical world today. Our nemesis in North Korea could not make his bombs and threaten us without electricity. Should he actually lob one that gets to the eastern United States, the Amish or the independently off-grid people will still feel the effects of his destructive devices.

I don’t have any answers. I observe we spend a great deal of time talking about eliminating or regulating this or that device. In hindsight, the genie humankind let slip out of the bottle is electricity.

Our forefathers in the not-so-distant past let this one out without much thought because early on it looked so innocent. Now, it controls us more than we control it.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press.