First published in Chitraltimes on 6th April, 2011
With time we humans are able to build mega projects; huge highways, bridges and finally we reached the moon but our thinking becomes increasingly shallower each day. Our foresightedness becomes vagrant possibly because we are being enslaved by the secret societies. We are able to make bombs and UAVs but a large part of human societies around the world are still suffering from poverty: lack of adequate food and clean drinking water, economic entrapment, intellectual and spiritual poverty are all part of the current human condition in so many parts of the world regardless of the wealth of a given nation..
We are able to make laws but the rights are smashed by politically and economic powerful elite. We are enjoying having democracy, though in many places still new and disenfranchised and in other places where democracy has reigned for hundreds of years it is dwindling, under the watchful eye of the power elite. They have various unethical ways of controlling our mind. The ever-increasing addition to technology is but one of them. It may be the addiction to technology is a threat to the human intellect as well as the human spirit. The more you depend on technology the less you will find time for the inner needs of connectedness to friends, family, faith and the natural laws of the physical body. The real bliss comes from knowing oneself and the unfolding layers of why each soul is born on this earth in its individual family and culture. It often seems there is a duality; to make a difference or to be in the caravan of donkeys.
The human being is “Ashraf-ul Makloqat” (the Supreme Creation of God)Qur’an says. Intellect makes us ‘Ashraf’ and creative from the other forms of life in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms. To increase an awakened heart with an enlightened mind, contemplation is necessary which comes from solitude. One way that our technology has surpassed our humanity depriving us of real-time connection to one another and ourselves is the insidious charm and deception found in Facebooking/Twittering/Googling. Due to social networking people have stopped spending time with their families, friends, creative pursuits and spirituality; cultivating the garden of mind and harnessing the power of thinking.
On a group discussion class at the university where I attend, I notice that some of my friends and classmates were busy with their cell phones, texting, facebooking and gaming. It is one of the reasons I chose to speak up. . Their absent mind and addiction of technology makes causes me great dissonance. It happens with so many people we see and come into contact with on a daily basis. The phone rings, in the middle of dinner, in the middle of sharing ideas and people go away like the President is calling.
I realize that time is moving too fast; addiction is very seductive, and minds may well not find much success in life due to their constant distractions by technology. . We need to discover ourselves, who we are and our place in the world without Googling. Google has become so all-pervasive so fast but it won’t assist us on our journey within to discover the purpose of life. It’s a barrier. Knowledge is not necessarily learning. If one becomes dependant on it. . Yes, it may be of some use in a limited scope of reference however, the pervasive use of Google rather than using ones own mind is a threat to oneself. Humans are born with amazing talents so go and seek information from ideas and thoughts and feelings from real people, rather than a machine whose algorhythms are based on a few key words coming up with a myriad of possibilities pointing to endless searches of data. Data is not learning. .
The Facebook phenomenon is perhaps even worse in this regard as it deprives us from the benefits of physical contacts and social interactions as we waste our time pursuing virtual relationship and friendship. Is it possible that humans can have 500 friends? I think we have become primitive hunters and gatherers. The founders of Facebook and the concomitant culture may think this is unfair and simply not true. Facebook would have us believe that replacing real connections, face to face, with our fellow human beings and society can easily be replaced by a virtual world and insidious advertising.
Sometimes I think that Social Networking is designed to scatter our attention. It is difficult for me to understand and now have come to the realization that as we adapt the intellectual environment of the World Wide Web and what it has to offer our thinking and understanding of self and others becomes shallower. Often, when people are alone their thoughts and emotions become more vivid, given the insight of introspection.
In conclusion, I’m not against any networking be it Facebooking/ Twittering /Googling. My concern is to share the situation which I have felt arising and growing stronger as I said before that our technology has outpaced our humanity. Addiction to anything makes one a slave. So as we mature we must first and foremost underscore our freedoms to think and feel as human beings and not be seduced by a potentially dangerous digital world.
Grow up and shrug off the digital nut and put double lenses on the eyes to foresee better than the only eye….!
© Nooruddin Jalal