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We are living in truly extraordinary times. On one hand, the viral viruses and their many strains and variants are making us fearful for our lives, and worse, forcing us to scrounge for everything from hospital beds and oxygen to food and basic necessities for everyday living. On the other hand, we are living in a Zombie like state due to the relentless onslaught of the media and the incessant pings of our gadgets. Indeed, the common denominator for both is the virality of the spread where both the virus and the digitally mediated world makes us flit from crisis to crisis without a thought for the longer term implications of our words and actions.
Take for instance how Cryptocurrencies have been gyrating wildly over the past week. If a single Tweet from Elon Musk can make or break fortunes of Crypto Millionaires, there is something very wrong with the way markets are reacting to viral social media driven new. Are we even thinking about what we are doing in the “heat of the moment” as we go about posting on Facebook and Twitter whatever nonsensical bile that we regurgitate.
Whereas the Coronavirus makes us scramble for our everyday needs, technology, instead of being the savior turns the “slayer of human sensibilities”. Moreover, while we can live without the dreaded virus (and indeed, come out of this nightmare), we just cannot be without our gadgets, no matter how hard we try. If this is the effect on adults, imagine what the future citizens are going through now, as their formative years are spent in isolation and over reliance on technology.
I am not being a Luddite here. Technology has indeed done wonders and is still the panacea for the many “ills” that are plaguing us (literally and metaphorically). For proof, see how armies of citizen do-gooders are banding together on social media to attend to everything from arranging hospital beds to finding homes for rescue pets. There can be no greater testament to the power of technology than the way in which it has come to our rescue in these Pandemic times.
However, my larger point is that we need to step back and take a break from the maddening virality of the times. Be it the virus or the social media posts, we simply cannot go on acting like as if “there’s no tomorrow” and instead, focus on how we can weather the crisis better. Moreover, with a Third Wave predicted, we must dig deep for the long haul and hence, cannot let shortermism dictate our lives. Of course, this is a privilege for the few as the majority are anyway locked in fates where the bitter struggle for existence precludes any such lofty thoughts of higher needs and the like.
So, what we have to do is to ensure that we incorporate sustainable living practices and focus on slow and steady building of the edifices of our lives that can make a difference to all. After all, it is our obsession with endless growth and our hubris of mastering nature that has gotten us here. So, the least we can do is to stop “playing god” and instead, be more “human” towards each other and more importantly, towards oneself.
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