Sunday, 18 October 2015

Are we really 'the' generation of idiots?


Okay, so let's start with a solid premise on this one. This quote by the greatest doyen of science may really be a good reference point to gauge the extent to which things augured it right. Are we really letting ourselves fall prey to the seductive venom of technological explosion, one that has far surpassed anyone's imagination on its extent? Or are we simply succumbing to the waves of change, which any prudent person would do because otherwise they'd perish in obsolescence? Answering it could be tricky. Because if we really are the idiots Einstein predicted us to become, then we will simply get lured by conjectures and fail to answer even a question related to our idiocy. Damn! That will really be an oxymoron of celestial proportions. 

Five decades ago, entertainment would've meant books, theater, cinema, circus, radio and of course sex. Four decades ago, TV started making a place on the list. Three decades ago, computers started showing up, two decades ago, the Internet made its mark, and finally about a decade ago, the world of technology made entertainment mobile. It seemed that at the onset of this new era, we human beings, as gullible as we can get, welcomed the same by getting festooned with devices of all sorts. There were normal cellphones, with new feature phones, with multimedia phones, with communicators and finally, the revolution got consummated with the remarkably out of the world Blackberries and finally the smartphones. Wasn't that a happy time to be in?

Everyone seemed to be ecstatic to finally see the tumbrels of technology rolling in our generation as well. We were all fascinated when our parents shared tales of how agape they were when they saw a freaking TV set for the first time. It seemed as if our moment had finally arrived. We were happy. We were goddamn happy, no doubt. After all, there were so many new ways of beguiling oneself with entertainment. There was so much more that you could do on the move. It seemed as if entertainment, one of the most basic human needs, was now only an arm's length away(literally, actually!). But what we confused to the most eidetic era for entertainment, was actually its annihilation!

Entertainment has to be uninterrupted and relished in isolation. With time, an impending inevitability has marred the world of entertainment. Books never had ads, radio programs didn't have them aplenty, and television humiliated by having more of commercials than you may witness the brutality of in totality. The era of mobile entertainment took it to a whole new level by nearly killing the concept of isolated entertainment as such. 

Entertainment is now more prone to interventions than it was ever before. You watch a movie in a theater, you may get a call and you leave the movie in between. You watch a movie on the TV, the same may happen. The fact that you can pause live television nowadays is a different matter altogether though. And if you watch a movie on your smartphone itself, not only can the calls interrupt your entertainment again, but now there are effing push notifications as well. Wow!

Okay, now let's move on to reading a book and going the old way. That's still pure entertainment, right? Nope. Technology isn't gonna let go of you that easily. You put your smartphone away and start reading, read a whopping 5 pages, look at the device that you previously put on silent mode not to disturb your experience, find a missed call, freak out and then shelve the book for a while. That's what technology has done to entertainment, and yet we imbeciles were lead to believe the prospects of entertainment have only been buttressed. 

In another way, technology has in fact helped our masters stay closer to us, thereby vanquishing the very foundations of entertainment. In the history of mankind, all forms of vacations were based on the pretext of a person moving away from their usual daily quotidian endeavors. In fact a sabbatical was the prime example of such a tenet. People took leaves to get away from everything, go completely secluded and relish life, far away from what it stood for on a daily basis. Technology and mobility demolished all of that. In reality, this happened when your mode of entertainment got seamlessly integrated with your mode of work. And yes, it all happened with our prior approval. 

Nowadays, your entertainment is not all your own. It's shared and it has to be. Your movie time, even on Sundays, is shared with your clients and subordinates. And if you view a video online, you have to pay service to a mandatory ad. Your games share space with companies that will inundate you with links to their apps and sites. Damn, even your photo albums are not yours anymore. You have to set who sees them and who doesn't. And while you search for new content to ponder upon, you find that half of that is sent by companies that think you'd like them. That's what we've done to our entertainment, which was supposed to be secluded, and all the while believing it was a pretty good move. 

In a way, entertainment doesn't exist anymore. It has got integrated in a bamboozling amount of information transmitted in the digital realm. Technology has no doubt done wonders to bring everything within your arm's reach, but that has made matters worse because there is no fine line between anything anymore. A web browser may have a link to Facebook and a business report opened at the same time, severely reducing the efficiency at workplace and also hampering the entertainment at the same time. This much touted self aggrandized integration is the problem. While many things had to be brought together, the domain of work and play had to remain separate. Because otherwise, offices and discotheques would be present in the same complex! 

All the while we've embraced technology and we just keep asking for more. This has bred a revolution because there is demand. It is believed we are moving in the right direction much like we've always believed technology is leading us in the right direction. But not only are we intellectually inferior because we never realize the difference between truth and propaganda, which now flourishes primarily because technology makes it all too easy to do so, we are also deprived of quality unfettered entertainment. Of the kind that could inspire you to change the way you live your life. 

Wondering why I stressed so much on entertainment while driving a different agenda altogether. That's because it was easy to tempt you to get here by using a few 'keywords' astutely, and steering you in a domain of my choice. I've centered the post around entertainment because as long as I use the word, you'd stick around because you think reading is another form of entertainment so why not. It falls in sync, right? But your much cherished technology has allowed me to embed a different idea altogether in this entertainment, and many people out there are exploiting you using this phenomenon every single day! 

In the end, just to in one fine way drive my point home, I'd apprise you that there is no proof the quote everyone believes Einstein said, was actually said by the great man. That's what technology can do. The veil between the truth and the supposed truth has been breached and obliterated, and yet we believe we are the smartest folks ever, when in reality we've the become the biggest fools since man learnt the art of rolling!