TECHNOLOGY AND THE HUMAN MIND
For the last few days, almost every day the newspapers are being flooded with the news of Kerala floods. People from all round the world have donated. Within a very short span of time, various electronic wallets like Paytm have collected some crores (more than twenty crores) of money from their users to provide help to the needy. Could this be possible in our grandfather’s time? Is it only technology which had helped or is I only human mind that helped? Compare this event to the revolt of 1857. The revolt had all the potential to uproot the British colonizers but it could not. It so happened that their communication was very weak . How do we explain this phenomenon? Is it only technology which was at fault or is it only the human mind which was at fault? Are both of these separate entities or is there any relation in between?
Change is a constant of human mind. The line brings forth a witty oxymoron. Isn’t it? Human mind has never been static and this not been static state has always been very constant. From those early ages, we have seen the human minds inventing new things and keeping no stone unturned. However, the human mind has never stressed itself without any reason. Hence, the proverb, necessity is the mother of invention stands absolutely true in this context. The recurring necessities have urged the generations to invent technology. Whenever the people have faced certain wild adversities, they have come forward to tackle it with the power of their human minds. What is technology? In simple terms, technology is a science or technique to invent tools to simplify one’s work and to do it in lesser time. In this 21st century it seems that, in the tough race between the technology and the human mind, the technology is far ahead of the human mind. The human mind had formed the technology. Now it seems as if the creation of the creator is about to supersede the creator himself. What an irony, isn’t it? We are surrounded with various forms of technology. From a simple hair pin to the space ship, everything includes technology. Technology has turned out to be omnipresent and it is slowly turning out to be an integral part of our lives.
Recall the days of the early men. “For every time I see the sky I’m aware of belonging to the universe than to just one corner of the earth.”- Ruskin Bond. Ruskin Bond’s views resonates well with the fact that the human minds never dreamt of sitting idle and his inventions are one of the best evidences. In the timeline, the discovery of fire was the first notable celebration of the early men. Fire was discovered around some two million years ago. Fire itself has led to so many inventions. When we today light a matchstick, do we care to value this invention? Earlier our ancestors used to live alone but slowly and steadily they started forming groups. Fire provided courage and protection to these wanderers. These groups later on merged to form a society. Basically, to reduce the communication gap, all sorts of inventions were coming up. They wanted to live together in harmony. Communication even brought in wheels. Wheels brought in more people and more intellectuals gathered. People started to develop various languages to share their ideas and ideologies. These spoken languages were then followed by written manuscripts. The first paper making process was started in China in (25-220AD). Way back in the Renaissance Age, the first printing press was invented. At Mainz, in Germany, Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press.
Gradually, people started to write letters to their near and dear ones from far off lands. Through the letters, people started sharing their everyday stories, their happiness, their bitterness, their anger, their disappointment and all those feelings that they could reflect on the paper. Each and every corner of the world was getting connected like Snehamoy (from India) in Kunal Basu’s The Japanese Wife, who developed a connection with his Japanese pen friend, Miyagi. “He wrote about his college, his aunt and the river. When she wrote about her own river, Nakanokuchi, the words flowed” – Kunal Basu (The Japanese Wife).
With the invention of telephones, people from all across the world, were drawn even closer. Technology started advancing at a very fast pace. Various designs and models of phones came up. From telephones to landlines to mobile phones to the latest smart phones, technology has evolved a lot. Take a step back, pause, analyse. In this fast moving world, do people care to understand this evolution of technology or do they take it for granted? All these communication advancements came to bring people closer but in recent times, these same technologies have resulted in isolating people. Computers, laptops, television, radios and many more sorts of communication have in one way, no doubt helped the mankind but in the other, these have also separated them. Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”
On one hand, technology has linked the entire world and turned it into a small and well connected global market. On the other hand, we find people sitting with their phones and laptops for hours together. People in this age are busy making hundreds of virtual friends through mails, Facebook, and through other social networking sites. They love to stay within the four walls of their social networking sites aloof from the rest, far away from the real world. “If you’re happy in a dream, does it count?”- Arundhati Roy (The God of small things). The social media does provide a platform to forth one’s ideas and helps to reach out to a large number of audience but is that all? The new generation is suffering from “infobesity”. Is the fantastic social world of any help?
When technology started advancing, people only cared about its short term benefits but they failed to gauge the long term problems and penalties. The same technology which once, held people together and brought about harmony, it is that same technology now, which is pushing the people away from their families to some remote corners of the world. In this fast moving, tech savvy world, there is absolutely no time for hearty long conversations. Do joint families still exist? “A family that radiate togetherness; and indefinable, enviable kind of specialness” from Anne Tyler’s (A spool of Blue thread). Even the basis of life that is a family is at the verge of ending. Families are breaking away to form only workaholic individuals.
Nowadays people tend to solve everything by texting to their family and friends. While texting and messaging, people at times unintentionally hurt someone since through virtual texts or messaging, only the words are delivered not the emotions. Through these SMS (Short Message Service), people do not understand the intonation and the feelings. Standing at such a juncture, can we probably say that, technology is advancing and our human mind is progressing? It seems we are still in a dilemma. Time is passing by, communication has to be rebuilt before everything turns into a messy affair.
“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”- Stephen Hawking. Way back in the year 1949, the first human made object had entered the then mysterious space. The object was Bumper WAC. Down the lane, we find Yuri Gagarin in 12th April, 1961 to be the first man to go to space. Following this historic moment was the space shuttle Columbia. This space shuttle was the first space orbiter of NASA (The National Aeronautics And Space Administration) which was sent on 12th April, 1981. From then on, the fanatic human minds never stopped to invent newer space launchers, satellites and various other space oriented gadgets. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”- Nelson Mandela. People went to moon, Neil Armstrong being the first man to walk on moon. That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind- Neil Armstrong. The entire solar system was discovered. Rovers were even sent to Mars to detect whether life can sustain there or not. It is said that the inventions of space launchers and rockets were considered to be one of the most important as well as the finest inventions of all time.
We have now entered the age of robots. The intelligent human minds have created robots to reduce their work load. Did the inventors even ponder for once about the aftermath of these inventions? In today’s world, unemployment is at it’s peak. People are pleading for jobs but alas!, even the minutest work in the factories are being mechanized. Will the robots ever understand this logic or are we basically heading to such an age where only the robots will walk on Earth and its inventors to be no where found? With the evolution of human mind, the technology has evolved as well. “We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell”- Oscar Wilde (The Duchess of Padua). With every new invention popping up in the human mind, the world is turning into a divided state with people who are busy completing their petty works. How many more years do these people treading on the earth need to understand that with the increasing technology, the pristine virtues of a society is going down as well. “I have discovered with advancing years that few things are entirely black or white, but more often different shades of grey”- Jeffrey Archer (A Prisoner of Birth). It seems that, it might happen that if at all human co exist with the robots, then the human race will also have to act like robots. The human minds can also get chips fitted into their brains for storing large amounts of data. Through the scientific brains, the homo robots can also upload and download various files. This day is definitely not very far away when we will encounter such a scenario.
When on one side, technological advances are taking such long strides of achievement, the creators of it, that is the human mind is also trying hard to keep pace with it. Today, the society has grown very liberal. Earlier, women were snubbed but still they were courageous enough to voice out against all injustices like in the poem Still I rise by Maya Angelou –
“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
However, now the scenario has totally changed. The men and women are working together. There is no work arena where women are not employed. Women have strived to be writers, astronauts, doctors, army officers and so on and so forth. The women have established themselves in all fields. Even after getting established, they still have not forgotten their duties as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. Hence, still today the lines of William Wallace’s poem, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” are standing true.
The most dangerous inventions of the mankind has been the nuclear weapons. The discovery of the nuclear energy was no doubt a very big achievement but people have not yet learnt the art of taming this ferocious form of energy. The first nuclear explosion took place in Mexico in the year 1945. In 1945 itself, the violent nuclear bomb blasts occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Till date, the scientists could not find any concrete methods to combat the violence caused by the nuclear energy. Various conferences have been held to put a check on nuclear testing and at times a full check on these nuclear activities.
There was a time when the beauty of technology and the charisma of human mind were creating wonders. However, in today’s materialistic world, only technology matters, not the creative human mind. Where is the human mind lacking then? Is it that the inventors’ and his inventions’ frequencies do not match? It seems that this tech savvy world requires some changes. There’s always some room for improvisation, isn’t it ? It is time that the citizens of the Blue Planet come together to reconstruct the relationship of technology and the human mind in their lives.
Do you all remember, why at the very first place, human minds were toiling to bring about an era of technologies? It was because they wanted to make their work easier and in lesser time. Analyse the present situation. More the technology is getting advanced, we are getting even busier and we hardly have time. The biggest issue of today’s world is the scarcity of time. In this century, people want to lots of work at a very short span of time. They want to collect information very fast without even trying to digest them. With the accelerating technology, the human mind is also trying to accelerate its features by modifying the former ones. In the course of time, people want to live more and work more than they actually can, in that time span. Nowadays, everyone is getting familiar with the term digital bulimia. In this case, people try to gulp down more information than they actually can, this results in increasing new information in the minds. This state of receiving excess information leads to anxiety and stress. Once a boon to mankind, is becoming a bane which is sooner or later going to consume the entire world.
“The world keeps on changing, but there is always something, somewhere, that remains the same.”- Ruskin Bond. The humanity is still breathing beneath all the grandeur of technology. Technology has almost casted a magic spell. It is time, that we break through it. Technology has been created by us and it can be controlled by us only. Bend the willow when it is young. When new technologies get introduced that is when they will be in their initial stages, all the pros and cons of the respective technology should be found out before hand. The new generation should also be taught how to use technology and how to utilize their mind. The social world benefits a lot but it also harms several lives through the various cyber crimes.
Being modern does not only imply that an individual should use the latest technology rather it implies that the person should use the technology with a wiser mind. Technology when misused can be a deadly weapon. Therefore it is time, people understand the need of the hour and pay heed to the present condition. People should start shedding their social cocoon. Let’s be optimistic about technology. Recapitulating with the words of Rudyard Kipling’s If – “ And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’”