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Just a thought away

chandigarh Updated: Dec 15, 2012 11:11 IST
Mahavir S Jagdev

Facebook paints a very different picture to the one we face in reality. The virtual world has loads of 'happy photos', thousands of 'friends', several 'like' clicks and 'fans'. But behind the promise of an ideal existence where we can be whatever we want to be with unlimited power at our fingertips, the hard facts offer a different reality.

The utopian Internet is in fact making people crazier, lonelier, anxious, impolite, dumber, anti-social and more prone to becoming obsessive and compulsive as well as suffering from attention deficit disorder. The computer is like "electronic cocaine", fuelling cycles of mania followed by depressive stretches. It fosters our obsessions, dependence and stress reactions. It encourages and even promotes insanity.

The engine of social media and instant communication is now so ingrained in many people's psyche that it is impossible to switch it off. It is rewiring us, forming a new breed of unhealthy relationships and fantasies, where we are losing control of ourselves. It has a hold on us that we may dislike but one we cannot resist. People get on the Net even before getting out of bed, expecting to catch the next ping, ring or ding!

If this obsession continues, it is likely that our next generation will grow up with a smartphone in hand, face down and completely devoid of human contact and interpersonal skills. In a word -- zombies!

If you think you are immune to this disease, then just notice the number of times you check your cell phone or emails in a day. What would happen to you physically and emotionally if this "electronic cocaine" were to be taken away for even a day?

The term Internet is a misnomer, instead of taking us inward into ourselves, it should be termed 'outernet', taking us to the farthest corners of reality and very far away from our inner core, our true being.

Before we get too lost in cyberspace, it's time to remember that we are human "beings". Perhaps it's time to get back to basics and re-build some real relationships -- first of all with ourselves, and then with the people sitting in the same room, completely free from the reliance of any connectivity.

From the invention of electricity, motorcars, to instant connectivity -- technology has some great things to offer and our lives would be much less comfortable without it. However, it is time to reclaim our own inner power and to remember just who should be in the driver's seat. Who is the master? Me or the machine? I or the iPad?

It's time to face real people in the real world. Spend a day or even half away from the Net or your mobile phone to enjoy your own company. Then when you finally get tired of your virtual reality, there's a real one just a thought away.

The writer can be reached at mahavirindia@yahoo.com