The sinister implications of getting hooked on to technology are now dawning on the saner section of the society. A 12-year old boy from the UK managed to blow £900 on an online game in Facebook- without his parent’s knowledge. Closer home, in Mumbai, Rohan, a teenager spends Rs 5000 from his father’s Pay Pal account. While the father is informed the money is being spent for a school project, he later discovers his son had blown it on ‘Farm Ville’, one of the most popular games on Facebook.
Technology exposure is creating two extreme reactions among human beings- either they get lonely and spend money like water, vainly hoping it would serve as an antidote. Or some get hysterically aggressive and perpetrate violent and gruesome acts on others.
With no real friends and all virtual relationships and fun, (thanks to the barrage of virtual games- Iphone itself has 50,000 games!!!) people get lonely. Dr Linda Pagani and her colleagues at the Montreal University undertook a research study and claim their findings reveal that watching television makes kids less intelligent, stupid and consequently lonely. Kaveri Subramanyam and Patrica Greenfield, psychologists at California State University and UCLA have made a detailed study on the impact of electronic communication on the minds of children. They noted in the journal, ‘Future of Children’ that electronic communication is making teens less interested in face-to-face communication with their friends. Many psychologists vouch that in the absence of human warmth, people seek refuge in shopping and filling their lives with ‘things’- which they mostly do not need. It also becomes a vicious circle. The more you substitute human warmth with objects, the less the chances of forging meaningful relationships with others. At the same time constant exposures to an unreal make believe world saps our ability to deal with the life’s complexities. Some that wouldn’t get lonely, go the other extreme- they go berserk and get violent. Crazy, sadist behavior is no longer uncommon. The disastrous social consequences of a lifestyle centered on machines and technology is there for all to see. We have seen in recent times frustrated people giving vent to their anger by attacking vulnerable school children and youth. Anger and frustration is on the rise because there is no connection to God or other humans.
Internet and television is preferred by many because it gives us the feeling that we are in control. Just one push of the button, we can summon information from any corner of the world and communicate with people across continents in a span of seconds. Besides, we can watch shows and hear music of our choice when we want and where we want. This increases our subtle feelings of being the controller of our lives. As we control machines the whole day, we get desperate to be in a controller mode always. That becomes our second nature. However when dealing with other family members or relatives we see it is impossible to shut them up or make them speak with a push of a button. People have individual likes and dislikes, emotions and feelings. To experience love and meaningful relationships one needs to spend time with others. We need to understand each other and be patient. Thanks to the rapid pace of technology we have no time for each other and would prefer to spend time with TV and Internet. This distances people more from their loved ones.
In the Vedic culture men and women are trained to practice equilibrium amidst the swinging fortunes and unpredictable events of life. Daily prayers, collective worship of God and the cultivation of service attitude helps people come together in a harmonious relationship. The Vedic scriptures advise humans to be equipoised during happiness and distress. This is because the scriptures extol the purpose of human life to be developing attraction to God and extreme emotions overwhelm the consciousness and make it impossible to favorably remember God. Therefore those who constantly watch television can see even insignificant events being shown with great fanfare and loud propaganda. These shows agitate the mind more than pacify it. Besides, the shows make us trust the externals of this world more than the substance. Physical attractiveness is more appealing than the strength of character, thanks to the exhibition of glamour in the electronic media. In fact this also influences the court of law. Cornell University researchers found that unattractive defendants are 22% more likely to be convicted.
Let’s make a conscious choice in deciding who determines our lives, before it’s too late.