Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Step Away from the Device, Enjoy the Ride!

There was a time beyond iPhone, tablets, laptops and ubiquitous personal computers. Ah yes, no video games either. Those years were not before the first or the second world wars, not even before Beatles, ABBA, Ali, Jackson, Elvis, Madonna or Diego Maradona phenomena. Some of these were many years before I was born, and some of these were in my lifetime. Having fun did not mean striking the XBOX, Play Station or Wii's console pounding with frenetic speed, or the near absolute attachments with fabulous social networking tools of today. Relative to present days' and moments' of never ending virtual interactivity, those days and nights of computer-less light and darkness were awash by sunlight or the moon beams, not the afterglow of a massive or tiny LCD screens. It was playing soccer or cricket in mud and rain soaked field until the twilight hour, climbing trees to pluck the ripened guavas or mangoes, and running toward the fly away kites in the sky brought the pure thrills and joys.

Those days are gone. One's childhood never returns. An over used citation regarding time is that it is like a flowing river stream, once gone, it is gone, never to return to the same spot. Life is such. We born and we die. In the middle is the most fun part. Our relations with the loved ones, family, friends, beloveds, colleagues, numerous acquaintances, and even strangers. 

Technological advancements in my lifetime I find to be simply astonishing. No one talks about those cumbersome personal PC made from 348, 448, Pentium 1, 2, 3 and 4 anymore. Anyone remembers Windows 3.1 or 95? What was the real "floppy" disk? Most of my Internet surfing these days are done using the tiny but powerful smart phone. Translation from one language to another has become easy, and I can download any book I would like to read in Kindle in a moment's gratification. What's Up? I am not asking a question to anyone, "What's Up" is an application shown to me by my sister last week, and already I feel I am falling away from technology's lightning speed track. 

The benefits that technology's marvels brought to me and my fellow human beings are magical to the least. And yes, it was correctly stated by the author Arthur C. Clarke that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. We are living in a magical world. With sufficient means, one can fly in gravity defying gigantic aeroplane to any picturesque and heavenly place of our world. If you like, you can see the live burning volcano in Hawaii, rain forests in Brazil, snorkel or dive with the large turtles around a coral reef or even with a disinterested predatory shark under the giant ocean waves. You can traverse the vast expanse of Sahara desert on the back of an authentic camel, and dine in fine restaurants of Istanbul or Rome. And yes, after quenching all self gratifying impulses, if one wishes, one can donate to any of good charities of one's choosing by clicking a few buttons on smart phone or tablet or using now the seemingly ancient looking laptop or clunky personal computers. 

We born and we die. The beginning we have no control about, and the very end has the promise of being very unpleasant if not downright horrific. The middle part is the fun. The present moment that is. We can reminisce all we want, and plan for all the good days to come in future, but it is the present that matters the most. And these very precious moments, should these be wasted immersing inside the virtual reality? Of course, one may argue that virtual reality can bring more fun and satisfaction than the painful, violent and convoluted reality for many. To me, this virtual loving argument seems to be superfluous and tenuous at best. Even many of the stalwarts of Silicon Valley are urging us the virtually entrapped beings to step away from our digital devices more often, stating that "Consumers need to have an internal compass where they're able to balance the capabilities that technology offers them for work, for search, with the qualities of the lives they live offline....It's about creating space, because otherwise we can be swept away by our technologies."

Don't be swept away by technologies. Step away from the device. Take deep breath and meditate or pray, whichever makes you feel calm and peace inside. This is it. We born and we die. The middle part is all the fun. Enjoy the ride! 

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