Dealing with technology’s dark side  

Man has created machines and the masters should not become slaves of their own creation. If today we are letting technology use us, then the problem lies with us, not with tech.
 

Published: 31st July 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th July 2022 12:21 PM   |  A+A-

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Is technology ruining us? For a spiritual person, the answer can’t be in simple yes or no. A truly spiritual person is an Anekantwadi, who will simultaneously accept multiple, diverse, and even contradictory points of view. But first, we must look at the brighter side of technology. Those who are born after the 1990s may not imagine what hardships the elder generation used to face. Long queues used to be a defining feature of those times. Simple tasks like depositing or withdrawing money from banks, getting 
a reservation ticket, or depositing an electricity bill used to be a herculean task and consume an entire day. In case of emergency, telegrams were to be sent. Now, many of us may not have even gone to the bank or reservation counter of a railway station for a long time. Better, now you know in advance whether the train is delayed or on time. The real telegram is out of business now, and the Telegram app 
is growing.

What technology has done for us? It has made our life easier beyond imagination. Everything is just a click away. Someone sitting in a remote village is working for a multinational based in the US. Families separated by thousands of miles are constantly in touch. Technical innovations in business and communication have made it possible that when almost half of the globe was under lockdown during the pandemic, offices and businesses were still running. The Internet has not only decimated the tyranny of distance, but it is also a great leveller.

What more can we expect? Let us concede that even the moon, which is a creation of existence, is not without some black spots. So is the case with technology. Those who say that technology is ruining us also have strong arguments in their favour. Certainly, when the technological revolution was taking place, all the well-intentioned people believed that it would bring people and cultures together. Instead, it has made us more polarised than ever. We only talk to people who share our ideas, likes and dislikes. We all are cocooned now. We all live in our echo chambers where we only hear our voices. 

We are seeing it every day everywhere. Hundreds of people who are working on the same premises, share the same space for eight hours, but do they talk? No! You will see that whenever they go for lunch or tea, all are feverishly busy scrolling their smartphones. This is the path to alienation. 

We have forgotten to have a conversation with someone who is around. Rather, we prefer texting. It’s making us isolated from the real world because nothing can take the place of face-to-face interaction. A pleasant smile and hearty laughter have no alternative. Sadly, human interaction is a casualty today. We are not alive to our surroundings, and spare time becomes our screen time. Friendships, even marriages, are in ruins. Our worth is not judged by how many friends we have but by how many followers we have on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Passive communication and jealousy are dangerous cocktails. It’s enough to make you depressed. Ordinary souls are trapped in this vicious cycle. This is creating a lot of health- and stress-related issues.

Yet, we all think that we are spoiled by choices while, in fact, we all are manipulated by big tech and algorithms. They decide what you will see on your screen. In fact, the laundry list of how technology is ruining us can go on and on. Attention deficit, insomnia, social isolation, sedentary lifestyle, and lacking the art of face-to-face conversation can be listed as prominent ones. But for me, the real problem is 
that silence has become unbearable for our youths. They can’t live with their own thoughts and continuously search for distractions. They are never alive to the present and thus they miss the wonders of existence.

Is the situation hopeless? It can’t be. The fact is the creator is always more important than the creation. Men have created machines and the masters should not become slaves of their creation. If today we are letting technology use us, then the problem lies with us, not with tech. This reminds one of what Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Machines are merely tools and not our masters, and that is exactly how they must be treated.” If we are letting technology use us, then it only proves that we are not in a wakeful state. Meditation can help you. This is also a technology. The only difference is that technology brings comfort in the material world and meditation takes you towards an internal journey vital for a sound mind. And a sound mind, a wakeful mind can never be a slave of any machine or its machinations.  The author, a life coach and spiritual master is the brain and soul behind the Science Divine Foundation - The Science of Divine Living (www.sciencedivine.org)

Meditation can help you. This is also a technology. The only difference is that technology brings comfort in the material world and meditation takes you towards an internal journey vital for a sound mind. 



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