The arrival of a crisis in progress is more likely a harbinger of the old age of Western culture than it is of the lassitude of middle age, in which the uncounted reserves of youthful energy are no longer available. Western culture, having arisen in its modern form in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, has expanded its political, economic, and intellectual influence over the whole world by this time. The idea that contemporary technology is a harbinger not of continued progress but of cultural stasis seems perhaps contrarian, but evidence that the culture has in fact come to a pause is evident from the general manner in which technology is currently applied. Any application of any new technology today is immediately considered in cost/benefit terms, which was not often been done in the past; industrialization and technology have literally changed the face and atmosphere of the planet.