Yes, we are in the 21st century… The so called era of “development” and “prosperity”… But, with all that’s going on around us, it is worth to spend some time to sit down to just “look back” and “reminisce”.
Ever since the humans came into being, we all have been “dreaming” – yes! Literally dreaming! From our birth till death we dream… And with our dreams, come the “aspiration” and the “encouragement” to make those dreams come true. We do succeed in achieving most of what we dream in our lives, but do we ever stop? The simple answer is “no”. So let us take a few minutes off our “unbelievably busy” schedules to just reminisce about “our dreams”…
Let’s just see a common occurrence in the present society. Most guys in society today wish to buy an Android smartphone. After much effort you do succeed in buying one – i.e. after bothering your parents to the level where they are “forced” to buy you that phone! But after you get that, do you stop dreaming? No. You would want the next latest phone that comes to the market, and this chain just goes on… There is no full stop to our dreams. Even at the time of a natural death, we would still be dreaming at least of our “afterlife”!
The simple reason why I mentioned all these was to draw the relationship between our “dreams” and “reality”. One may argue that dreams and reality are two different words with independent meanings, but I disagree! Reality is nothing but our own dreams themselves…
Let’s just have a look at our history. Around a thousand years ago, a machine that could take us through the sky was only a dream, but now? Aeroplane journeys are even more common than a train ride for some people today! This is the same with all the luxurious technologies we enjoy today – ranging from telephone communications to the Internet where we are literally connected to each and every human on earth at any given time! Therefore, it is crystal clear that it has only been a matter of time for the dreams to become the reality!
Amidst all these developments, we have been having quite a comfortable life. Gone are the days where you would expect “snail mail” to deliver the letter to your fiancé / fiancée in about 3 days, and also where you ran the risk of making sure that no one else read your letter! Gone are the days where you would sit down with a stenographer to type your letter on a typewriter! And gone are the days where you would sit down and “relax”! In today’s world, we do not “relax”; we simply do not have time for it. There are loads of social networks which keep us promptly occupied and busy for the whole day.
These two analogies bring upon a very important conclusion regarding the “digital culture” of ours. It is true that mankind has achieved much thus far, either by turning dreams into reality or by other means. It is also true that these technologies have made our lives much easier and much more interesting in one aspect. BUT WAIT! Are we done? No! We are still not “happy” and “contented” with what we have. We are craving for more, more and more… In this chain which never seems to stop, what would be the final outcome?
Let us frankly think of these phenomena. We are surrounded by technological devices and we cannot live without them anymore! Given that fact just ask yourselves a few questions. When did you last go out and play a game of cricket with your friends? When did you last go on a trip with your family members? When did you last visit your aged grandmother or grandfather and just say “hi” to them? You would give some nice answers to these questions of course! Instead of playing cricket you managed to play a game of “Counter Strike” with your friends, instead of going on a trip you managed to “watch a video” on a few places of interest and instead of “visiting” your grandparents you managed to “hi” to them over the telephone! Using technology you have “achieved” all these, but, think again! Have you?
Since the advent of technology, the way we interacted with others changed forever, and all our relationships became visible to us on a virtual screen. This “illusion” that is created using a set of bulbs decides who we meet and in what way we interact with them. But this has left us with a question. It is whether we “coexist” or whether we just “exist”? Think carefully! The reality is that, in a virtual world, we only “exist”. In fact we are no better than “robots”! While humans are striving hard to build robots with artificial intelligence to match up to humans, let us keep in mind that we human beings are transforming ourselves into robots! It finally looks like that we will have to switch our roles with robots very soon!
However the whole point of this work is not to criticise technology or to blame the greatest masterminds of the century who sacrificed so much to make lives easy for us! Rather, the sole intention of this is to make all of us think again as to what we run behind! It is all right to “dream” about new technologies and to embrace them, but since we are “smarter” than four-legged creatures, let us do it “wisely”. Let us not concede our human values and inherent qualities that make up the friendly atmosphere around us to a “dead” screen on a mobile phone. Let us be “active” with the people who are around us. Let us “stop” for a moment and “relax” without the “smart”-phone coming out of our pockets! Let us share at least a small portion of our busy schedules to have a jog around the house and to embrace the warmth of the sunlight which we all miss!
At least in Sri Lanka, we have still not gone to the “extreme” of this entire hullabaloo. But, since we are rapidly moving towards being the technology hub of Asia, let us keep in mind to, “Look up from our phones, to shut down that display, and to live life the “real” way!” and to say “that’s enough” when we have “had enough”.