Monday, January 28, 2013

Switch off!

Sometimes, you may spend all your time with a person, but you still feel like you have had hardly any companionship. You may have been sitting right next to each other all day. Yet, you have hardly exchanged a few words; forget thoughts or opinions or feelings. Perhaps, it is a reflection of the times. We are all evolving towards being superficially self-sufficient. We have numerous devices that make us feel entertained, stimulated and even apparently connected to the entire world. The fact is we are all increasingly connected to and involved with our devices, leaving us with little concern about the actual human beings around us. Don’t you feel the urge for some real human interaction, for a little conversation, shared laughter, even a wholesome fight?!? With a person who is actually in the same room as you, and not staring at you out of a psychedelic screen? Some days I wish I could just switch off all telephones, mobile devices, laptops, music players and listen to non-electronic sounds. Days go by and I realize I have not even heard birds or the wind in the trees or the sound of rain … in a long, long time! There are days when I want to just talk aloud endlessly and still be heard patiently.

Your fancy smart phone’s networking applications may leave you feeling like you are constantly in touch with so many people, but are you ever really involved with these people? Being involved, in the everyday sense of the word, including the expression of emotions, opinions and urges, is essential for us to stay human, to make sure that we don’t turn into automatons. Don’t you get the feeling that you are turning into a boorish, impolite, intolerant person? As if you are not able to tolerate other people and their foibles? As if you are always right and the rest of the world needs to really buck up? Doesn't this feeling intensify when you have been cooped up with yourself with just your electronic friends for company? Do you find yourself easily irritated, hardly ever satisfied, very rarely happy from deep within? 

It is not that I want to get rid of all my electronic devices. They appear to make my life easier; sometimes they really do make my life simpler. But they never really care for me, they don't love me or hurt for me or are happy about me. I want to stop and appreciate all the people who do all of those things for me. I want to reclaim my joy of life. I want to be able to like the people around me. I want to learn to see their goodness amidst all their faults and not just expect them to be two-dimensional perfect personas. Perhaps, I ought to go out and make some new friends, or renew old friendships over a cup of coffee, go for a walk together, or even spend some time watching neighbourhood kids laugh and play. I might find myself a lot happier, more relaxed, a lot more human. Perhaps, I ought to slow down, not caring about the crazy demands of a faster and faster world. Just stop and savour the tiny moments, stolen out of my own life. And do so right now. Stop typing away here and go say hi to somebody nearby. Just say hi. To the next person I see :)