Homo sapiens these days have a serious challenge on hand – that of being unable to ‘switch off.’ Connectivity has become omnipresent. Technology rules the mind and, to some extent, the heart. The result is a disconnect with the real world, steady deterioration in the quantum of quality time available with the near and dear ones, burn-outs, fatigue and an early onset of lifestyle related diseases. Increasingly, we appear to be becoming slaves to technology.
The following antidotes might help those amongst us who happen to be a part of this rapidly growing tribe.
- Learning to Unplug: Out of the twenty-four hours we have in a day, we can surely carve out a time niche where we can just be ourselves. Heavens will not fall. Our business, or the companies we work for, would not collapse. If we set our mind to this, we can do it.
- Renewing Ourselves: Setting aside a time for yoga, meditation, light exercises and simply pursuing a simple hobby would help. Being connected to the external world – watching TV, for example – would provide only temporary relief. Real relaxation would swell up from inside us – once we start doing something that makes us internally happy.
- In-sourcing: One thing we cannot outsource to technology is mindfulness – being aware that we are aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. Attempting an ‘in-sourcing’ of this kind has a great therapeutic effect on our system. Short bouts of meditation or deep breathing achieve precisely this.
- Being Wiser: Every moment, we are flooded with data. Every day, we face a tsunami of information. Wisdom lies in sifting through this haze and differentiating between the important issues and the urgent ones. Nassin Taleb, author of The Black Swan, says: “Big data may mean more information, but it also means more false information.” Wisdom alone can ensure that we follow a balanced direction in life.
- Thinking before Wishing: The option to remain connected 24 x 7 and the deluge of information available at the click of a mouse is making us lazy cats which have had an overdose of rich cream. We need to critically evaluate the wish-list of our lives and reset our priorities in a conscious manner. Chasing rainbows is fine, but the real challenge lies in deciding the colors of our individual rainbows.
- Being Vigilant: Sci-fi spine chillers tumbling out of the Hollywood dream factory project a scary picture for us. Our lives could soon spin out of our own control. One threat – to our privacy – has already manifested itself. Another looming large on the horizon is that of our smart gadgets going beyond running our homes. These could soon start aspiring, conspiring and colluding to control our lives. Vigilance is highly recommended!
Life is much like a driving experience. The vehicle we drive and the gadgets at our disposal are becoming smarter with each passing year. We are trying to navigate our way on the autobahns of our lives through an enveloping fog of information which becomes denser with each passing milestone.
The only way out is to have sharper responses, a stronger will power, an intuitive capability to forecast others’ behavior, a higher level of vigilance and a quiet time for ourselves. The bliss of switching off our gadgets and enjoying a real sunset over the lush green fields that whizz past us is simply waiting to be experienced. So is the joy of rolling up the car windows and listening to the soothing strains of a Beethoven symphony wafting out of the music system. As darkness falls, the fog lamps of wisdom enable us to drive our way through life safely and enjoyably.
As our gadgets become smarter, let us not get dumber. Let us not be slaves to technology!
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