Truth and technology
God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please – you can never have both. Between these, as a pendulum, man oscillates. He in whom the love of repose predominates will accept the first creed, the first philosophy, the first political party he meets- most likely his father’s. He gets rest, commodity and reputation, but he shuts the door of truth. He in whom the love of truth predominates will keep himself aloof from all moorings, and afloat. He will abstain from dogmatism , and recognise all the opposite negation between which, as walls, his being is swung. He submits to the inconvenience of suspense and imperfect opinion, but he is a candidate of truth, as the other is not, and respects the highest law of his being.
I come to an understanding with Ralph Waldo Emerson when he set into the world on this mission of truth. The pursuit of truth, as it may be better put, has always been my subsequent nature. Questioning the beliefs that we, as individuals, have been told to follow since childhood is not something that is wrong, rather it stimulates original thinking and leads to ingenuity. It is now some years since I detected how many were the false beliefs that I had from my earliest youth admitted as true, and how doubtful was everything I had since constructed on this basis; and from that time I was convinced that I must once in all seriousness undertake to rid myself of all the opinions which I had formerly accepted, and commence to build anew from the foundation, if I wanted to establish any firm and permanent structure in creating something worthwhile ever – like this article.
The truth that I’m trying to fight here is one that surrounds us all in this era, so discreet in its encapsulation of almost everything that we do today that no one saw it coming, so daunting in its sheer magnitude that hardly anyone can escape it. I am, of course, talking about technology and the tribulations it has brought along, afflicting the social order while reaching out for more and more hapless victims, the count of which is proliferating exponentially. The advent of cell phones and the internet may have made our lives easier but the alarming rate of our increasing dependency on technology might just lead to our doom.
“When was the last time you looked at the stars?” is a question I often ask people around me and the answer is always a mix of bewilderment and mystification (at asking such a nebulous question) followed by musing sighs of absent-mindedness. It is not that hard to understand the reason to this. Simplicity has lost its meaning in today’s world. When there are more people constantly worried/ impatient about their next ‘Whatsapp’ message or how many ‘likes’ they received on their ‘Facebook’ status, thus never finding the time and motivation to dig their buried heads out of their smartphones and laptops , the periodicity of human interaction with nature – the way it was meant to be, has all of a sudden nosedived into a void of hopeless superficial pleasure which is the opposite of happiness – something we strive to attain even if it be subconsciously.
One might argue that technology has improved and enhanced our communication skills and is working in our favour. This may be true to a certain extent and no doubt the occurrence and measure of communication has amplified ten-fold but the downside to this facet of science is the depreciating quality of human interaction. Someone wise once said, “Too much of anything is good for nothing!” The same goes true for technology. Being in perpetual touch with someone afar might seem very fitting and obliging at first but over a period of time you’d realise that a repetitive text on whatsapp or facebook can never be a match to the beauty and prominence of a simple letter etched in ink and delivered once a month. When you are constantly communicating with someone, you lose out on valued information or facts worth sharing. It’s all very pointless and since small talk has never been my forte, I, for one, find it extremely hard not to be bugged by constant lame enquiries by some of my friends and far-off relatives alike. Therefore, I find a letter to be a more meaningful and natural extension of my expressions and feelings than a facebook chat. In short, it simply makes more sense and helps me avoid relentless usage of the internet.
We travel in AC(Air-conditioned) cars, step out and enter an AC office, workout in an AC gym, return in the AC car to our AC flats only after buying the groceries from an AC mall or after watching a movie in a nearby AC cinema hall. Where is the time or possibility of taking a moment to just simply look at the sky, breathe in some natural air and wonder in awe like our ancestors in the past? We are no more grateful for nature and humility has taken a backseat in our minds. Moreover, our lives are now running at the expense of our health plus the world’s.
We all know we’re headed towards Global warming, that the icebergs are fast melting and sea-levels are rising and how recklessly. It’s just a matter of a few decades before we are submerged in the oceans brought forth by our tryst with technology. The whole kit and caboodle is acting as a precursor towards this saturation point that we’ve arrived at. Nothing is to be taken for granted now. Just because our generation might survive this phenomenon doesn’t ensure that our future generations will too. There is a holocaust in the making- all thanks to us and our dear technology, and its fast approaching. Its better if you shut down this laptop right now, go out and do something beneficial (for a change) for Mother Earth. Practice subsistence farming; why not grow food in your lawn instead of flowers and grass, why not migrate to rural areas and develop or enhance their farming techniques. If its somewhere I appreciate technology, its where its useful in feeding billions of hungry souls through viable solutions in agriculture. There are no confines to what a human mind can do. We’ve had examples in the past but are in dire need of miracles for the future.
But in order to think straight, you need to at least break the malicious circle of technology. So, step out of your AC offices and AC cars and take a ramble up a nearby mountain or go fishing in the sea. Breathe in some pure oxygen and perceive the sweet melody of nature. It’ll help clear your mind, body and soul.
Just take some time off today- from all the texts, emails and messages …. “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” –The Prophet.
Thank you so much