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It is not what it used to be

April 22, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Disconnected connectionsDisconnected connectionsAdvanced in communications technology has had far reaching and epoch making implications in the recent century. We are instantly connected to anyone we choose to connect with anywhere in the world, yet we are disconnected with our immediate neighbors.

We are right in the middle of a bustling town full of people, crowded; yet do we find ourselves alone and isolated. Gone are the days when we used to talk to passer-by and fellow travelers. Now we talk to Siri, Google and Cortana!

Time to reflect? Oh no, we are too busy checking out the apps!

60mm, 1/250 sec at f5.6 & ISO 800

'It is not what used to be' said the taxi driver as he ruefully shrugged off my question. Then after a momentary pause he said that times have changed and we no longer share quality time with our family members. Brothers and sisters are out of touch and everyone is just caught in their own web of fast-paced lifestyle, where none has the time to slow down and appreciate the finer aspects of human relationships. In such a materialistic and philistine society, where even our near-and-dear ones struggle for quality family-time, ideals such as self-reflection and appreciating the gifts of nature stands no chance.

He was not the first one to complain about our contemporary lifestyles, and certainly he won't be the last. What is ironic is the fact that we all complain about the present state of affairs and the way our lifestyle has evolved over the past few decades, but we all are entrenched so deep in the current mess that it is hard to come out. Much like a drowning man struggling to stay afloat and extricate himself out of a quagmire.

I am not here to preach the pros and cons of our contemporary lifestyles. Well, even the blanket generalization of the word 'our lifestyles' will be plagued by fallacy of collectivism. But, people who indeed feel that our quality of life is deteriorating in the wake of so called development must pause and think if the cost that we are paying for what we think to be gains is really worth it. For those who prefer the pragmatism of economics, they should really think in terms of the opportunity cost of choosing our current lifestyle over something else. And one cannot really estimate the losses until one understands what they are losing in the form of something else. The opportunity cost may include the tangibles such as health and well being as well as the intangibles such as peace of mind and spiritual deterioration.

But calculating the opportunity costs of our choices is not an easy task. Personally for me the simple act of being in nature and doing nothing is an effective tool for self reflection and self evaluation. Simply existing and doing nothing is a lost art. I am in the process of preparing myself to learn that art. It is a long and possibly difficult trail out there, but it is well worth the effort. There is should be no harm in trying as in any case the future is not what it used to be!


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