Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Only Thing We Own

By Gaurav Parab

This is not going to be pretty. You have been warned.

Society is getting dumber every day. I normally soften my words by saying ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘ours’, but today on this misty Pune evening, I am not going to generalize. I will be brutal. I will be specific. I may be fatter, balder and slower. I earn less than you. I can never understand balance sheets. But I am not dumb. Like you.
 (I wanted to say someone like you, but that would be generalizing)

This is about you. When did you get so dumb? Hold on, you say. Where did this come from? You arrogant little, you.

Why am I jumping out of the screen and giving you the bird? What made me an expert on intelligence? What fantasticity did I pull off? When did I become a rocket scientist and land on the moon.

Never, I reply. Achievement never interested me. It is more fun to imagine how the moon looks like than visit it. It is more difficult too. I think.

I grin because I am sure the point of this article I being missed. But I grin inside. Have you seen a man grin inside? Do you have the imagination?

So why, you ask again? Are you drunk? Is everything all right. It’s the appraisal isn’t it?

No, it’s the mediocrity around me. The words I hear in a conversation and the thoughts that are shared. At the risk of sounding clichéd, I see only clichés around me. No originality – none at all. People have become afraid of themselves. They hide behind accents, borrowed thoughts, and plastic company. My nephews, aged 5 and 3 build Lego castles. The bricks have more personality than people.

I am worried for them. Soon they will outgrow Lego and meet the zombie generation.

Where did you go wrong? Who came first? The dumb audience or the dumb entertainer?

It is easy to blame the Internet or technology. Did it start when emotions became emoticons? When you felt laughter is not an experience, but a word spelt LOL. When you became too lazy to even string a few words together to show appreciation, and simply said I Like. And then you dropped the I Like and went +1. Soon you would just nod your heads. Soon you will just meet people and walk through them. Even if you like them. (I do that all the time. But only because it is a cruel thing to do).

Tell you what. The biggest threat to this generation is not war, terrorism or corruption. The biggest threat is needing a camera to capture an everyday moment, instead of your soul.

I said technology is easy to blame. I did not say correct.

Technology is useful actually. More content, concepts, and ideas are being generated every second than any time in our history. So, what then?

No idea. Why should I even try to analyze this for you? I am not your friend. My friends are smart. Last evening we discussed the pretentiousness of discussing pretentiousness.

I end this with an appeal. The human brain is an amazing gift. Some of us don’t deserve it, but heck we each got one unit. The fact that you can think about thinking is something that cannot be achieved by animal, machine or …water bottle? Why lose this once in a lifetime opportunity by not thinking about how ugly crows look, or how squishy snails are. Think. Think. Think. Think different. Will aliens puke when they see how unnatural a thing the human nose is?

A thought is the only thing you own. A thought is the only thing you will ever own. You are not dumb; I only said it to tow you in. But these days you certainly act like you are. Get smart. 


Gaurav Gupta said...

good one

Yadu Ambadkar said...

Very true, we really need to be more human. Sadly, I see this everyday. Initially, i thought i can change it too. But, was wrong. As days rolled on, it became more evident to me that a society is very difficult to change. We can only make a difference to our immediate surroundings. Just trying to do that in a small way every day :)

Shreya said...

Nice :)

Avinash Maurya said...

this evoked many issues in my mind (which i am trying to get rid off). some of them are,

technology is good, true. but it has wrapped our minds and bodies in grasping and tapping the furious pace of new developments around us. we don't give time to things that really represent us. I have recently come to realise that I spend too much time reading tweets/posts, reading random articles/blogs...etc while most of this may not be a representation of me. A book which i choose lying next to my laptop is more me than an blog post (including this one). hardly give time to read it.

secondly, i think humans adopted eternal stupidity when we thought industrial revolution is greatest thing that has happened with our species. this revolution, unlike all revolutions, brought more disaster. degrees are more important then the person. categorizing things is a must.
this has made our perceptions about things around us so strong that people have lost the power to question the perception itself let alone dismantling them. hence they can't think different... (and this is why 'm trying to get rid off the issues myself).
any child won't have this problem though.

"My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters." - Isaac Asimov

Swagataa Dutta said...

truly said...even when go through the BB in infy now-a-days, i just think to myself - what has happened to the people... what twisted logic and nonsense topics they talk about. It was very different when i joined 3 years back..... things changed when the old players, the thinkers went away and we were left with all the undeserving people.

Gaurav Parab said...

Thanks GG and Shreya.

@Yadu: I have no idea what you are talking about dude, but its the thought which counts.

@ Avinash: Love the Asimov lines. So apt. Technology is just a medium. Maybe, it was just a simple counter which said that post 6 billion - humans will be dumb.

Sigh books. Did not read them for a while, but now I am going through them like I go through misal pav. Fast and furious.

@Swagataa : Pre-school has more original thought than BB.