Are we living in a progressive society that benefits us all?
We live in a society that is predominantly driven by our engagement to the internet primarily a result of the sweeping development of new technologies in the last two decades. When the internet first popped into the world scene around 1995, we were all blown away by the potential to bring about sweeping changes in the way people do business and conduct their daily lives. No doubt, a majority of those lofty thoughts have now come to pass but have there been any consequences?
We don’t worry about getting a telephone signal on the other line, we can see instantly if someone is ‘online’ on our phone.
We don’t pay hefty bills to speak to someone on the other side of the planet, we can pretty much do this free now days. Not only that, we can see their faces.
We pay for an electronic good today that is a fraction of the price twenty years ago.
We have access to hundreds of friends who can lift us up in an instant through social platforms.
We don’t have to rely on friends and families, our social reach goes beyond this circle and can extend to hundreds of people in a matter of days if not minutes.
We don’t have to be face to face with someone to make personal statements or criticisms.
We have social and instant gratification when we need it and don’t need the permission of anyone.
The above can paint a picture of a society that has ‘enabled’ people to move away from their tiny space to one that is a far bigger stage. People will almost always interact through ‘ether’ rather than via the physical presence like before. It means, it is no longer required for humans to have a physical one-to-one connection to get the same recognition, rewards, guidance that they always crave for. But if you truly turn the technology upside down on its head, the instruments for communication are essentially tools where humans ultimately connect. Without this important component, all of these technologies would fall apart.
It ultimately boils down to humans wanting the same things as their fellow compatriots from the beginning man set foot on this earth. We all need sustenance, recognition, love and to be close to other like minded people. The technology enablers of today makes this happen at record speeds. For example, you can have food delivered to your door under 20 mins. Packages arriving at your doorstep the next day after placing an order online the night before.Tens of people coming to ‘like’, persecute, ignore, love, share, the moment you post something online. We could be living in a society where you could or should ‘join the masses’ or be left behind and I talk about this later on.
Most have us have some kind of daily lives, such as working in an occupation, going to school etc. and these will keep us on our toes most of the day. Yet, a majority of us keep our phones close to us and at the slightest twinkle, will reach out to the phone like a life-line. Do people really want to escape from their daily grind of life and immerse themselves into this virtual world? Is the life in the virtual world better than the physical world that is abound? Have our expectations changed such that we only crave for instant gratification and rewards. Is society in the early stages of spiralling towards degeneracy or will it create a world that will be conducive to mankind’s existence.
We need to look at the new millennials of today to get an understanding of what society could be in the future. They are the ones who are going to map out the future and how human beings will live and interact with each other on this planet. There happens to be 5 billion phones globally which is about 75% of the world’s population. This is astonishing considering that only twenty years ago a majority of us were communicating with each other using antiquated landlines. In my opinion, this direction is taking us to a new level of human interaction and this interaction can be a double edged sword. The biggest advantage is that it allows all of us to communicate rapidly with each other and to be able to resolve issues quickly.
Theoretically, this kind of immediate access means that many people can leverage this and reach thousands of people to advertise their skills, products etc. People can now channel their untapped skills and energy to something they have always wanted to do but did not have the means to do so previously. This can also mean that many people will also face stiff competition with other people having the same interests and desires. I believe, there are two groups of people that can come from this type of society. The people of the ‘masses’ and the other much tinier group of people who have more stamina, resilience and determination to make their lives different from others.
The people of the ‘masses’ will predominantly be made up of the consumers of the capitalistic system that will continue to keep the mighty companies of today in business for a long time to come. They will invariably be driven by the ‘I’ movement where their only needs are primarily to themselves with strong traits, in self-control, self-centerment, self-directed, self-motivated. This means that the impact of these individuals to society has a profound effect on how it is perceived. There is no doubt that a consumer based society of today relies on the importance of another category of people who are innovators and thinkers of tomorrow that will direct the technologies to keep this massive engine oiled.
We are seeing large strides being made in virtual reality (VR) with augmented reality and headsets that are designed to immerse people in a virtual world of their own making. This will pave the way for individuals to be more self-directed and relying less on human and physical interaction. In time, individuals will be content living in a ‘matrix’ type world and a ‘virtual family’ would be more preferable and less stressful than their own family.
All this means, is that the very basis of man’s roots for co-existing, when they first walked on earth could be secondary to a new ‘world’ that is shaping up today. There would be no need for a partner, no need to live with other people, but become an individual in a world of their own and isolated from the real and physical world.
We live in a age of instant gratifications and the millenials are used to getting what they want. We have the monster companies of today who are completely engaged with the way we live and work. For example, Amazon.com fulfills our impatience and instant gratification in fulfilling orders by having packages we ordered the previous night arriving right at our doorstep the following morning. Our desires for material goods from anywhere in the world can manifest at our doorsteps without every setting a foot outside our home.
The picture that I have painted thus far, may look a bit bleak for some and many would dismiss it as nothing but wishy-washy at best. However, that is not to say, why we could and should not question the very society that we live in. After all, the future of our children will continue to live in this world and we should always ask ourselves, ‘are we setting good examples and most importantly are we setting a good stage for their futures’.
We can take a mature approach and provide the necessary direction to our children as long as we have an honest disposition towards the future well being of our children.
As an individual living in this society that is controlled by people who dictate the economic infrastructure that we have today, we do not have to feel helpless. I believe, the direction we’re going in is directly in our control and in the hands of people like you and me. It takes a certain attitude to shift away from a self-concentric viewpoint and think about the world we and our loved ones live in. I found the book ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle to be a very helpful book in evaluating your existence and take back control of your own life. The goal is that you have better purpose in life and do not always feel helpless. I am not preaching to the world and I do not have anything to sell but it is my view that one should impart their own knowledge and wisdom so that others can benefit.
Right now, you can use your own feelings and thoughts and have the ability and will power to go in the direction you choose. It is up to you, if you want to follow the ‘mass path’ way to life or if you really wanted to make a difference to your life. We practically live in a Sci-Fi world and visionary people like Arthur C Clarke, George Orwell had the wisdom to see the ramifications of the societies during their day. We can be controlled as a mass or do you want to be an individual and shine in the path towards where your true self belongs. For those that choose the long and arduous path have something that no other person can take away from them and that is their true intent of who they are.
The ‘mass path’ as I have defined here is not the meaning implied in the dictionary although they have similar connotations. My meaning stems from the fact that people who’s lives are guided by the construct of technologies we have today are departing from their true self. If they stood back and thought how it’s impacting their lives, then they would be fulfilling more of their creative potential and hence their true self.
Our society of instant gratification can also mean that we become more frivolous on many subjects and topics of great importance and interest. Take for example, our president Trump who indirectly has shown the very society we live in. He chooses not to discuss topics of any great lengths and in fact takes to twitter to put out his statements and opinions which comprise no more than a few sentences. This tends to provoke and challenge many of the ‘mass path’ population which is his intended audience anyways. The ones who truly want to dig below the subject matter are few and far between.