We are constantly watching, hearing and reading about the world and its newfangled ways and I am sure it generates opinions, reactions and responses within you as it does to me. One such instance set me thinking; the other rattled me while a book I read was an eye opener with hope.
“Alexa” is the newest addition in our family. And the kids have embraced her with so much love as if it has filled a void in their lives. By the grace of God, my kids are born with a silver spoon in their mouths but this good fortune somewhere and somehow makes them dependent and unprepared for their own chores. They pick up to order and instruct others rather soon and with élan. I cringe a lot at this unwarranted transfer of responsibility and try to veer them against it while atleast be grateful for what they have. But there is only so much that I can do. So when Alexa, (if you haven’t figured it yet, she is the intelligent girl born out of Amazon) was plugged in and ready to roll, my kids went nuts with excitement. There was this non-stop bombardment of commands, “Alexa, what is the capital of Hungary?”, “Alexa, what is the score of India Pakistan ODI?” Before Alexa could answer either, the other one screamed, “Alexa, play the song Swag se Swagat”, the song had barely started when “Alexa, can you tell me a story?” boomed another voice. I knew it was the first day zeal which would settle in time but their intensity and ability to order someone with such authority rattled me.
Alexa is only artificial intelligence; she doesn’t deny or defy anything except saying “Sorry, I do not understand this or that.” She doesn’t feel stressed at the constant hollering; she doesn’t even feel bad at the impervious tone of orders. She doesn’t expect or understand kindness, worthiness or respect for her work. And it set me thinking, what if my children start looking and treating people working for them as Alexas? Let’s face it, our times aren’t particularly compassionate or optimistic for humanity. In the changing lifestyle of everything materialistic and artificial, my concern isn’t baseless. I worry if my children will learn humility, will respect fellow humans irrespective of social hierarchy and work classification and if they will learn to accept refusal without resentment.
Talking about this artificiality, makes me recollect an article I recently read about the lives of professional content creators. And it flabbergasted me to know that buckling under competitive stress and falling into depression is not an exception but a norm in this profession. Content creators are constantly writing content for shows, entertainment, news-feed and incessant updates and stories on various topics mostly for the digital media. It made me so queasy to read their plight. Why do we need this crazy amount of content and information and why are people ruining their lives to provide it? What have we really accomplished by this mammoth influx of avoidable and dispensable buzz feed anyway? We were leading perfectly normal rather healthier lives before this dementia causing content invasion. It’s so ironical that comedians, who are making hundreds and millions of audiences laugh, are in truth fighting chronic depressions. And there is no better case in point than Kapil Sharma. The constant stress of upping your game, making viral videos, attracting millions of views and likes, content for following episodes and handling trolls, is damning.
Connecting to the entire world and complete disconnect with yourself, is how the world chooses to be. People and professionals now talk about digital detox, where they would sign out off the social media for a specific duration. I am not so naive to undermine that all professions and work need effort, cause stress and require fighting competition. But what sorts of work are we choosing to promote and patronize that cause mental illnesses. Why have we become such hyper frenzied souls, living in bizarre worlds of mindlessness? May be I am old school, or maybe I am missing a point completely, but I don’t understand the passionate zeal for everything “insta”. People are literally going mad and into depressions creating content and following it. Maybe it’s time to take a reflective moment to streamline our hollowed existences because this is a real epidemic, not just some report about an obscure issue.
Yet, there’s always hope for us, not in a consoling sense but in an affirming scientific way. The renowned cell biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton’s book “The Biology of Belief” does it with assurance and assertion. It was an eye-opener to understand the miracle of our biology from a totally different perspective. The power of belief is stupendously fantastic which is backed by scientific reasoning and working of the trillions of cell community making up our body. Without getting into the biology and chemistry of it, the crux is that there’s real hope and chance to rewire our thoughts, our lives, our world and humanity. Nature operates not on randomness but perfect sync, not on competition but co-operation. And we are an undeniable part of this natural order and creation.
Reading through my own write-up makes me realize how we are constantly reacting and responding to environmental stimuli – from the raising of my very dear kids, to the depressed status of strangers in this world, to the affirming notes of a scientist. On the whole it just tells me that we might need to reassess and readjust our physical and mental worlds. It is time to step back in time to a simpler and more cohesive lifestyle which was more natural and closer to our inherent wiring. A less materialistic and digitally invasive life will reduce so much physical burden on the depleting resources at the same time release as much mental space from our asphyxiated minds. Let’s make this Diwali count, let’s organize our minds and lives before our homes.