Ages n' Ages we have been taught by our religions and spiritual gurus to be away from the materialistic world and into our souls. Get away from attachments, desires and just think about god to attain Moksha. For some reason I am realizing that getting materialistic is now become one of the steps towards god. Most of us have become dependent and insanely attached to technology in the digital for and internet which is all virtual. Just some major technical setback or a terrorist attack technically and we all will be unwired.
Our systems, our work, our memory today is all dependent on the machine. I remember how I used to remember everyones phone numbers by heart and when I started using a cellphone I eventually ended up remembering only a handful. These handful numbers are not remembered because they are important, but because they are used more often. I think memorizing things is also become obsolete after passing out from a school or rather till the time you are not handed over a digital gadget where you can store all your information.
I am myself a digital freak. I love the digital world and I am addicted to it. Not just my life but even my living is dependent on the internet and computers today. One could have argued about the same while changing from slates to write to papers. I have no idea of what people thought about such kind of transformations in those days but today I am understanding a huge change, an experience where I have been a part of a revolution that is making our brains travel in the world of truth, reality, then virtual reality (the worst form of maya). There are virtual games with virtual worlds where people have their own characters not just playing some silly game but doing business within the game. There are many addicted to such games. The less fortunate are also living in virtual worlds of chat and social networking. No wonder when I used to handle an internet cafe, I used to end up saying LOL instead of laughing many times. I still do that... but sarcastically.
Even after being so much on machines almost 80% of the time I am awake, I am not liking much of it these days. I am lacking the fun of using hands on physical objects that I can touch and smell. Something that is beyond the computer screen and eyes. Yes on the internet I can reach many and many can reach me. I have a lot of ideas to share, I have a lot of work to do, I have a lot of money to earn and what not!? I am surely enjoying and benefiting from it too, but I am also missing making photo albums by hand, or printing CD labels for a customized audio CD I burnt or an audio cassette I recorded. The creativity is greatly dying in the sense of moulding things physically. I am myself a great fan of farmville, playing it and will soon stop playing as I will reach the highest level possible. Why did I play farmville and not cafeworld? Because I love gardening. If I love gardening why don't I work in the garden of my own bungalow?? I would love too, but isn't it that I am all the time uploading or editing photos/music making a living. Maybe I have the comfort of working from home, but still I have to be near my computer. As much as I am connected online the more money I am going to make in the longterm. Thats where a virtual game like farmville satisfies my hearts hunger to do farming or gardening. But how long will this work. I had got bored of the game in between, but then I decided to cut down its usage and finish it completely before stopping the game.
I don't watch TV. I feel proud about it. I loved to watch documentaries or travel shows more than I loved to watch music though I make music myself. Over the years as I started working online I stopped listening to much of music as well. I think everyone would agree that our most memorable songs are the songs that were made before 2000. I made a survey on this even with the new generation. My students who range from the age of 6 to 50 all like songs of different types. Obviously the new generation is liking the song which is chart buster at the moment, but ask them about the song after a year.... They have not just forgotten to play it, but they are not even interested in hearing it again. Some new song is on their mind now. Now lets not immediately jump to a conclusion where this generation is needing something new all the time. Its not that. They do love the songs their parents hear or some old songs they hear otherwise from friends or a retro party. They still remember the songs that were not their own favorites but they have heard vaguely like this. There has to be some logic and not magic behind this.
Taking music only as an example its a well publicized fact in the public today that todays music doesn't stay eternal in the hearts of listeners because there was no hard work done in the process of making music like it was done in the old days. I completely disagree and so will any person who is doing and listening to good music. Since many years music directors and arrangers have been emphasizing on acoustics and original instruments which are disappearing very fast from the studios due to production constraints. The producers want to use more clear samples, more better VST (Virtual Synthesizers) and use loops instead of live rhythm. The EXCESSIVE use of digital automation in the field of music is a curse more than boon according to me. It should have stayed in limits. The tones and samples of instruments though close to real are so clear that they dont sound like a real instrument that is heard live. The samples and tones are tuned in comparison with the sound of the instrument through a mic or mixer on flat levels. I feel the noise, hiss or breathing sound need to be there to give a more humane touch to the music. The all clear track of sound feels nice to listen in realtime but doesn't really flatter the frequency of the strings in our cells.
Same with photography there is too much digitalization and modification of photos. A photo that might have come crap in real time is modified beautifully to make it look like a masterpiece. After a while a person doesn't understand whether the photo was good or the editing was. For a buyer the masterpiece is what is essential. But slowly I am loosing the fun in it. In the first stage I was loving exploiting my creative side while taking pictures. In the second stage I started correcting the pictures to achieve the right results. In the third stage I started modifying the pictures drastically to achieve artistic results beyond imaginations. Conceptually and technically the images come out at the highest standards for my customers, they pay me a lot for it, but in the end what did I exactly do? Was I a good photographer, a good graphic designer or a good conceptualizer. Ever since I entered the photography market I was criticized for my composing techniques and concepts, 3 years later many photographers want to follow me and models want to get pictures clicked from me. Why is that? Not just because I modified those pictures perfectly or fought the industry rules of composition. I achieved high results because I managed to use a camera like a computer and computer like a camera. But honestly speaking I would have been happier making a painting with canvas, paints and brushes. My concepts would still work there, but would there be a time for doing that. If I am doing something digitally its taking me 1/100th time of what would have taken me physically.
We stand on a brink of extinction in terms of how are we going to use all the muscles of our body together to achieve a single result whether creative or not. True consciously or unconsciously we did get away from many material aspects of life on the superficial level, but the virtual world has got us deeper into the material structure. There have been virtual dating, then virtual marriages, even porn sites converting themselves to live sex shows on cam feeds, virtual memorials for deaths, virtual get-togethers, etc. I think this is all becoming more closer to a make belief world. People are following a certain pattern of digitalization. If there is a river with that name, most of us are blindly floating on it, not even swimming in it, and going on as it takes its own course. The people who aren't yet aware of such a world are missing a lot of good and lot of bad things too. I think its time for smart people to think of how their virtual activities be limited or be converted into their physical world and material world where they could use senses other than sight that fuels their incredible brains with imaginations that are not going to last till their journey back to the real world.
With more people getting together, spreading activities or rumours has becomes much easier. All creations related to this technology right from art to softwares have lost their profits because of increases free sharing of utilities. A software or a music album that would have sold a million copies before will manage to sale bearly 10k copies today. All because we have to a habit of sharing, copying and swapping things for free. Though open-source is here to stay it is going to fuel only technology and not going to benefit its creator in the long run. Even with e-books, digital book gadgets like kindle will keep screwing our eyesight. Over exaggerated reports about global warming and solutions for it like norms on carbon emissions are leading us to do more disastrous things in life. Read article titled " Cars Bombs & Climate Changeon PAGE 14 of TOI's crest to actually know the other side of the global warming solutions. The link will lead you to the online edition.
I somewhat again and again feel the need to go back into 70s and live that world. I might have lived only 1 year as a baby but I enjoyed my life till computers came in my life precisely in 1992. I was fascinated by anything that was mechanical since my brains are of the engineering background by heridity. I have been fascinated by machines and toys. Computers made it more easier and more vast. But then somewhat I feel the human life existed more before computers reached in the hands of ordinary people. We met in life more than we chatted online. Our problems were more realisitic than virtual or kinda imagined I would say. There would be more of togetherness and humanity. There was hysteria about celebrities and fascination about them which we dont have for any celebrity anymore. Yes there are fans, but there is not that mysterious life hidden behind walls. We know everything about them all the time. There was only gold-spot and thumbs up if I remember. Watching a movie was strictly limited to saturdays that too after VHS came. Otherwise TV was about family sitting together at primetime watching buniyaad, nukkad or ramayan. Whether you loved those serials or not, for sure all would be watching them together because there was limited entertainment and no choice. The success behind those legendary works also was due to this factor that these products were shared by everyone in the household or friends. Now we all have our own televisions, computers and laptops and can hole up in our room and watch what we want to.
We are already facing a backlash of our overconfidence in the virtual world. I see my internet lifetime as my dreams. I love its part as a getaway from real life. Mainly because my work is related to this. This is where I earn. I am happier and more creative when I am not on the internet, but still internet helps me forget things that are happening in real life. It makes me feel happy and comfortable talking to people I dont know for real, people I cannot trust for real, yet I can take the risk for that happiness that is acting in my todays world. Looking around, I realized a lot about coming back to the real world again after my best friend shifted back to Pune. All these years he wasn't here, I wanted to meet my friends every evening just to hangout and talk, but everyone was busy with their work as well. Everyone working overtime and the rest of the time coming home to watch tv or sit on the internet. Past few days I am loving it staying away from the net and cutting down my usage drastically to fuel more in my life. I dont know. Maybe just because my friend is here, a happy part of my real life is back. if he disappears again I might jump back into the virtual world looking for a hideout to stay away from the real world again. When the internet is down I want to sleep a lot, not because I am sleepy because I have now caught up with the tendency that if I am not awake and not earning, why spend my life feeling the pain of the unhappy life around. I rather be happy in dreams. Fortunately I dont have nightmares. I think digital world is like that, its like a dream.... like an imagination, once you are are disconnected its like waking up and wondering what to do. If electronic gadgets stop working due to some EMP pulse, then no ones ipod will work what will remain to listen are the old LPs and maybe a few cassette players.
Getting addicted to internet or dreams is surely not a solution to avoid real life problems. All of us who spend more than 2 hours on the internet for non-work reasons are surely consciously or unconsciously living this virtual life for the same problems. I realized the positive and negative side of this world. I have been living in this world for almost 8 hours a day on average for last 10 years. I have not just seen my life which I consider moderately connected but I have seen the best people get ruined due to getting away from the real world and getting on virtual world. I never used to read books, I only read comics, now I am making a point to read books to excuse myself from the virtual world. Though I would always like to be connected with people online and infact expand my network I will do it in a limited way. I need to enhance my spiritual productivity instead of hampering it. A session of meditation would do more wonders than dreams. An astral travel to a place I want to in the real world would be more rewarding than a trip to a social networking site. And last but not the least partying with friends on a saturday night, getting high and letting loose is always better than being online. Its time to get away from the worse form of maya and improve by getting back to the worst (better than worse) form of material world.
P.S Internet and computers was just some terms used to represent any kind of big n' small devices that have taken us away from the normal walk of life. So internet lovers dont get pissed off, I love the internet as much as you all do, but I want to enjoy a peg or two of the internet and not the whole bottle. Or maybe I will learn to serve people the whole bottle of my product on the internet... haha! God Bless You All!
Photo credits: , Nikhil Gangavane.