Is Technology playing Havoc with Relationships?
by Mathew C Ninan – Brahmavar
Brahmavar: Recently I saw a clipping of a family on a picnic. They are in a scenic spot, but each of them was engrossed in their mobile phones, cut off and unmindful of the rest of the family. It’s a picnic only in form, and not in spirit. The liveliness and bonhomie of a picnic were sorely missing. This is just an example of what’s happening these days. ‘Every man unto oneself’ is the norm today. A highly individualistic culture is spreading thick and fast. Exclusiveness and selfishness are the hallmarks of this culture. The frequently reported ‘selfie deaths’ is yet another pointer towards man’s suicidal self-adoration. Other people are at best an inconvenience, and at worst a nuisance.
Where are we heading? Back to the cave? From being social animals to mere animals? Indications are surely warning us about this prognosis. Family as an institution is showing signs of stress and strain. Joint families have yielded place to nuclear families. If we take it any further we will end up having only bloated individuals and impoverished families. It used to be said, ‘families that pray together, stay together’. Again, ‘families that eat together, stay together’. Now we have reached a point where families do not even have a functional dining table. Dining table is only a piece of furniture for the sake of formality. Everyone has a different time to eat, and a different place to eat. Some eat in the drawing room, watching television; some in the study room and so on. Homes have turned to lodges with inmates. Strangers under the same roof?
Then there are some who are all wired up all the time, apparently listening to music. In actual fact, they are perhaps only shutting out the world around them. Once wired up, nobody will try to talk to them, or ask them anything. This is sheer brilliance, isn’t it? Some ride motorbikes listening to music and even talking on mobile phones, in utter disregard to their safety and those of others. What’s this if not absolute insensitivity and irresponsibility of the worst kind? Mobile phones, computers, I-pods, television etc are all wonderful, but their use must be so regulated that they do not replace human interactions. They should not drive a wedge in relationships. It is this cardinal truth that is lost sight of in this mad craze for gadgets.
Human beings are social animals. They are family animals. They can survive meaningfully only in a web of relationships. Outside of it, they are reduced to mere nameless creatures. Man has an identity only when he is a part of a family and a community. Man in isolation is a beast and an unfeeling and insensitive brute. Man becomes a human being only when he experiences feelings of love, affection, sympathy, compassion, kindness, and kinship. That’s why we say that life is a journey from a human being to being human. All that negates the essential ingredients of kinship and relationship are abhorrent to humanity. This includes technology. Let’s, therefore, use technology and modernity as instruments that serve us to be more effective and efficient, instead of making them our masters to the extent of dehumanizing us.
Once again, nothing shall replace relationships.They are the bedrock of the human race itself. Devoid of relationships, the world will be reduced to a jungle, with all its ramifications. Let’s be forewarned!
Note: The author, Mathew C. Ninan is the Principal, Little Rock Indian School, Brahmavar- Udupi
Pictures for Illustration only