It’s 6 am the sound of bells ringing on my phone wakes me up, struggling to get up and turn off my alarm, only to blinded by the light from the screen burning into my retinas. woke up to do my morning chores, I wander all morning like a zombie. It’s 7 am I have to get ready for the day, but not before I check my phone to see my notifications. Which I planned would only take me a few minutes, and a whole hour goes by. I’m late! I run through my chores, often combining them in odd ways. Finally, I’m ready and off to college.
The bus ride usually takes about an hour, surrounded by people with headphones and with no one to talk to I usually sit and day-dream, about all the things that would never happen to me. I’m interrupted from my dream by the occasional jolt from the bus and the notification alerts on my phone. Looking down from my ordinary life to the alluring world of digital content, I browse my phone the rest of my journey. This is how a typical day in my life starts.
We live in a world where Information travels fast. The pace of life has increased quite appreciably. I wonder how back in the day when a poor pigeon carrying your message, flies on a long journey to find its destination. How much information could that bird carry, and how fast, Imagine a bird bringing you a message, you roll out the thick paper, written on it in a rustic handwriting it said: “The king likes your conquest, and the princess is now your follower”. Certainly, there was no time for trivialities back then, information was valuable and the speed at which the bird flew set the pace for that world.
“we spend a sizable portion of our lives engaged in trivialities,
which prevents us from leading a peaceful life.”
Jumping a few decades into the future, we are interrupted every waking moment of our lives by endless notifications and pop-ups. Notifications about your friend’s cat and how cute she is when she’s sleeping and another friend who’s eating a pizza (# biggest pizza ever). Out of 7 billion of us, 4.77 billion have a mobile phone and that number keeps on growing.
Whenever I visit my grandparents in rural India. I find that there is a different pace of life there. There is more of a human connection. Everyone would sit together and talk about all things happening. Family members are interested to know more about my life and they sit down and listen to me when I talk. There is something different when you talk to your grandparents, they come from a different time. A time devoid of cell phones and digital content, Oh how I wish I had a time machine.
It’s only my grandparents and older people who are not much affected by technology, I see toddlers playing with phones even when they are as old as three. Their tired mothers, in an effort to make them stop crying, put phones in front of them. The rich content of images, sounds, and videos captivate their brains. That is exactly what digital contents are designed to do. They work on a reward system, rewarding your brain with points and level ups, in an effort to keep you engaged.
“The true mark of a successful company is, to build habit-forming products”.
Our brains have gone from rewarding us for maintaining human connections to leveling-up in candy crush. That is a very sad shift in focus. We no longer actively seek out human connections anymore, not when we have access to thousands of application at our fingertips. Not only the mental shift, there is also a physiological change.
The posture of our population is increasingly getting worse, and much to the benefit of chiropractors, almost everybody has back pain! It doesn’t stop there, Sleeplessness, Myopia, Depression, The list goes on. All these are insidious problems which affect the quality of our life, yet an addicted population is willing to go through all this suffering for the rewards they get.
Our generation has the most number of mobile users, but thankfully we had a childhood before technology took over. I can’t imagine what the kids of today will grow up to be. who will they look up to? us? well, we are not setting an ideal example, are we? When the need for human connection is replaced in a kids brain by technological distractions, he will have a difficult time adjusting to people when he grows up. This leads to a secluded life and that is not a life worth cherishing.
we need to understand how addicted we really are and how our kids are the ones who are going to suffer, bring a general awareness to this matter. We are in the matrix people! wake up! stop living your lives on autopilot. Go outside, sit on a bench and look at clouds and do nothing for a change. Feel the wind, the sun, the sound of the trees. You don’t have to talk to other people if you don’t want to, but it helps. Don’t work extra hard on your work just so you can go for an expensive ‘Tourist’ vacation. You won’t feel any better when you’re there. Instead, focus on being in the moment. Take technology breaks whenever possible. In the end, our virtual lives are but mere facades, which masks our inner despair.
Carpe Diem, Seize the day!