The emergence of easily available access to the internet has long since necessitated the use of our phones, laptops, and other electronic devices. In order of decreasing amount of potential addictive power, we have social media applications like Instagram, streaming services like Netflix, messaging applications like WhatsApp, gaming applications that I don’t know about because I don’t play any, and many many more. Times like the current lockdown situation in the country have greatly facilitated the ease with which we make use of these amenities already. A situational upsurge in the use of the video-calling app ‘Houseparty’ says a lot about how people are dealing with the situation. It’s enlightening and heartwarming that digital media is being used to bring people closer in social distancing times.
However, it becomes easy to fall prey to the habit of using all the screens surrounding us. It is important not to fall into the great void of staring into them all day long.
The first few days of the lockdown, I happily binged on my books, diminishing my books-to-be-read pile in a matter of days like slicing fruit off the display in Fruit Ninja (okay, I know one game. Does Subway Surfers count too?). I was blissfully in my own little bubble, until that phase passed, and I found myself turning towards the sweet comforting warmth of the bottom of my laptop. Not long after, I transformed into a never say never YouTube consumption engine. It became my go-to relief from the dark recesses of my mind that constantly ask, “So what to do next?”.
Like I said, it was very easy to fall into the trap, into the ceaseless void. And very difficult to get out.
Most people would run to quick fix solutions – websites telling them to create a schedule, ‘maintain a routine’ – and then would write down a rigid time table, something they’ve scarcely done before, and unsurprisingly fail at it. Let’s face it. Planning a routine and sticking to it is one of the most heinously difficult tasks in the world. Due to the incredible, wild nature of human behaviour, the moment ANYONE, including yourself, tries to put such restraints on your freedom of will, your brain will go out of its way to fight it. So most timetables remain unchecked. But hey, it’s not you. It’s your raw animal instinct! Probably the same one that makes certain people defy lockdown rules and go strolling the streets as if they are nobody’s and everybody’s business at the same time. Stay at home, folks.
The point of having the above discussion is that although we must appreciate technology and avail of it to the fullest extent, we must also, at the same time, avoid misusing it as well as letting it misuse our conscious wakeful time.
Most of these wonderful tools are designed to be used, yes. They are also inherently designed to be addictive, habit-forming, and difficult to put down. It’s upto us to recognise these fetters upon our freedom, cut down on our dependency and fight against it. It’s an invisible war, much like the one we are currently going through with the novel coronavirus. As we come to terms with accepting one, we also need to come to terms with accepting atleast the existence of the other.
Nobody says it better than our very own Albus Dumbledore,
“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
Stay safe, and happy quarantimes!