Thursday, November 22, 2007

Life Without Technology


Last week my computer crashed and my life suddenly came to a standstill. Every morning the first thing that I do is go to weather.com to figure out what would be the appropriate clothing for the day depending on the forecast, especially in winters. Anything that I ever needed an answer for, Google came in handy and whoever writes on pen and paper any more? Now Microsoft office applications take care of everything. It takes care of capitalizing the letters for us, making sure we didn’t leave too much or too little space between the words or if the spellings were correct or not. Everything is being taken care of by my computer.

My life went helter skelter. All I ever talked to anyone that whole week was how sad I had been coz I didn’t have an access to the Internet and I had been totally cut off from the rest of the world. I tried various stores to have my computer fixed but nothing really worked and ultimately decided to wait until we buy a new on.

I walked out of my house one day and suddenly realized, much to my shock that the fall season was almost over. My backyard is so full of fallen leaves now that I wondered how I never saw that before. As always, when I got up next morning, I walked over to my work table when I remembered that my laptop does not work any more. Not knowing what to do I sleepily walked outside. As soon as I opened the door the fresh cool breeze touched my face and I was awake. It felt so refreshing to be outside on a pleasant morning. The last vestige of the fall colors still looked beautiful. I took in the beauty of the nature before my restless self took over.

Sitting still even for 10 minutes was hard. I would go back to my work room every 10 minutes to see in case my computer changed its mind and decided to work!! After a while my desperation and frenzy got on my nerves and I decided to take it easy. With this realization, my mind started navigating me through some wonderful collection of books and music that I had. I had bought them over the years but never found enough time to read them all. I decided to look around and explore some more. In the evening I went out for a walk in the woods to enjoy the fall colors. I had seen them all a zillion times on the Internet, as 10 beautiful places etc…but seeing them or feeling them through my senses in person gave me an entirely different perspective. The expanse which was missing on that 17” screen was overwhelming. I felt like a part of it, not some objective spectator. I also met with some friends there. I had been chatting with them on a regular basis online but looking into their eyes and exchanging smiles rather than smileys and using gestures rather than some incomprehensible abbreviations felt different.

I started to wonder, although it’s true that the technology has given us endless opportunities to explore things and brings home on our table the entire world, but it also takes away our power to analyze things. We have forgotten out ability to browse our mind and look for the answers or explanations inside, the quest for wisdom and truth is just one Google or Yahoo away. It does the analyzing for us, searching for us and viewing for us. There’s nothing that we cannot possibly do online. Buying, selling, dating, reading, writing, even marriage. That reminds me of an 8 year old child whose dad was looking for some information on the Indian god (Ganesha). He went to the temple, called up the priest and also his family in India. His daughter a little amazed at him said, “Dad I wonder why you are running around so much for this piece of information? Just go to ganesha.com and you are done”.

However, it should not be misconstrued as me having anything against the technology per se. It is an enormous tool to make our life a lot easier. But aren’t we doing away with the power of thinking, reasoning or analyzing? It should be used as a tool to enrich our lives without getting too dependent on it.

Technology, no doubt is making our life a lot easier and smarter but, meaningful……….??

4 comments:

Vikas said...

I am overwhelmed! i'm short of words to express how i feel...

Anonymous said...

u have a gr8 way wid words............its just put simple things in a different light altogether...Keep it up!!!
Ujjwala

Anonymous said...

Thoughts well expressed.... nice piece of writting.
But i was wondering if you can generalise this fact- internet taking charge of one's life - for everyone; infact i am sure you cant generalise it for even yourself across all situations and at all times.
Just ask answer these simple questions - even when ur lappy is up n running, dont you long to see ur friends, relatives.. in person, no matter how long u chat online? don u often feel really being one with the nature no matter how many beautiful wallpapers u have on ur machine? dont u ultimately resort to your own senses and wits as regards the cognitive elements which you have mentioned in your blog, no matter how long you keep searching for those peices of info? i am sure the answer for all these questions is positive, atleast it is true for me.
It appears as if you have expressed a snapshot of your perception about the technology in a particular situation. Did you really felt the same when your lappy wasnt down? Didnt you used to enjoy the cold breeze, the crisp leaves of fall....? you did!! didnt you?
Yes, one thng is definitely true - tht internet HAS become an impratnt part of our lives. Might be it is due this reason only that one misses it so much that he/she starts relating everythng with the technology, at least for a while, and probably you wrote this article around tht time only.
I personally feel that at the end of the day, technology is just that! a tool and it will continue to be so. It cant replace human relations with each other and their environment!! Can a mother be satisfied by just having a few minutes daily chat over the net with her son/daughter? Would you still call your seniors as 'sir' just because data on the net shows that India is still high on power distance? Negative !!

Jyoti said...

Dear Anonymus,

Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed your perspective.

However, Life is not about just one experience or situation,but, one does go through a change of perspective during that one particualr situation. All great revelations or changes have always happened because we looked at the same incident or situation a little differntly.

Yes, I did enjoy everything before,the fall colors,fresh cool breeze or meeting or chatting with friends, but when my laptop was down,I realised how much the internet had expanded to fill out all our available time.
Almost invariably and quite unconsciously we sit in front of the the alptop and browse aimlessly for the information which are highly processed and which we may not even need. Technology has impacted us in such a way that people don't have any free time or quality time to do any serious thinking. Even while driving on the road everybody is busy either on their cellphone talking or textmessaging or listening to ipod or checking their blackberry every 10 mins to see if they got any message........ It's only when for some reason they don't have access to these technological devices and are forced to look outside or do something different, they realise they might have missed so much........

Reading about Darfur with a glass of wine in hand and perusing through other people's opinion is not thinking..............