Modern Technology And Our Togetherness
edited: Wednesday, November 22, 2006
By Amit Pyakurel
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Become a Fan
The digital age has bridged communication gaps, but at what cost?
I can recall those days, when I was a kid and when I didn't have a computer, the numerous channels on TV, or a readily available cell phone. Today, though I feel fortunate to be associated with the modern day luxury, do I really curse those bygone days that had no digital luxury like today? Maybe not. It was a time when we neighborhood kids would gather on any careless evening and enjoy playing hide-and-seek behind the dusty bushes. After a busy day in our schools and in the much awaited weekend holidays, running and jumping, in the open air with our friends was our greatest amusement.
But today, things have changed a lot. Sharing a face-to-face conversation seems like a luxury of the past, as many of us are now busy with our online schedules or our cell phone conversations. A friend of mine, who is pursuing an engineering degree, told me that getting a chance to talk with someone in front of his face is what he is striving for these days, as all his colleagues in his hostel rarely get time to do anything other than sit in their rooms using the Internet to research and chat with strangers living on the other side of the world.
Likewise, our lives seems to be constrained inside the boundary of the modern digital spectrum, where we find little time to share a face-to-face interaction with the very people who live and work closest to us.
Needless to say, humans have left behind the eras of ignorance and the suffering perpetuated by this. We are living far better lives in the context of comfort given by modern scientific advancements. You only need to click some buttons and a job is done which otherwise could have been a big hassle in the past. The most adorable thing about today is we have made a big leap in the way we communicate.
It just takes a few seconds, or less, to get in touch with our loved ones, our friends, or our business colleagues, even if they are many miles away. The geographical distance does not matter so much, as our cells phones or the Internet make everything closer. The world seems to be significantly contracted regarding the benefits given by the modern information age. Globalization has become the modern day principle, thanks to the luxury given by the advanced communication equipment of today.
We are connected to the world, to the people far away from us, and even to those who we've never met before. It seems we are in the age when almost everyone is connected to each other, be it a person from the darkest and most undeveloped part of the world or someone who is enjoying entirely a gifted life amid every possible luxury given by modern development.
Yet, even though we are closer to each other due to the gift provided by modern day communication tools, at the same time, we may also be more detached from our surroundings, our friends who are not so far away, or our family and loved ones who always happen to be in our vicinity. Yes, we can joyously share our conversations with our friends and loved ones who are in another corner of the globe, feeling like they are close to our vicinity. But have we ever cared to communicate with the same vigor and warmth with those people who we live with, or with those we don't often need to use Internet or cell phones to get in touch with?
The communication revolution has enabled us to nourish our togetherness with those who are far from us, but have we really noticed that we are also lessening our social interaction and our affectionate moments that we must be sharing with the people who are emotionally as well as physically near to us?
We may be talking for a long time with our friend who is abroad, but we seem to be not so concerned whether we are chatting and communicating with our own parents and other family members, who just happen to sit next to us, some inches away from us.
Although the information age has gifted us in so many ways, it also seems to have cursed us, in that we are overwhelmingly inclined towards technology, painfully keeping ourselves farther from the real, closer, and more affectionate world we live in. We are happily available to talk to someone who is thousands of kilometers away. But, have we similarly bothered to talk to someone and share some intimacy with the people who are just one or two feet away from us?
While seeking and technically absorbed with the aspects of connection over long distances, we may be forgetting who and what is around us, forgetting those who really matter to us besides the world of technological sophistication. These people might be more important to us in our ups and downs than those who are far away and unable to share so much in a pragmatic and face-to-face relationship.
Of course, we have profoundly changed the way we live. The technological luxury given by communication mediums must be something that was never expected by our ancestors. We are very much connected with the people of different races, different cultures, different societies, and different attitudes, and we cannot refrain from admiring such advantages.
But, at the same time, we seem to be lacking the very relationships that we should be having with our colleagues, friends, or family, all those who live around us. So, are we really making our lives better in the midst of sophisticated and advanced forms of technology, or are we making it worse regarding the fact that we are forgetting the very relationships, the warm communication, and the needed intimacy with our close ones, who also happen to be practically close to us?