By Akhil Kumar:
The fact that Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is being debated as a psychological condition speaks volumes about the use and presence of the internet in the contemporary world. It’s not just a mesh of virtual webs that have woven together the world into a smaller place, but a social phenomenon that has revolutionized every aspect of human life. It’s not surprising that the youth can barely imagine their lives without the internet as this paradigm shift happened with the start of our generation. However, what is imperative to think is what led to this sudden dependence? The internet came bearing fruits and has never ceased to pleasantly surprise us with the possibilities in the future but let us not get too carried away and critically examine its impact on our society with a free mind.
How did our society function without the internet? This question might just be airily dismissed by our generation with a prompt “how does it matter?” attitude but it’s quintessential to understand the psychologies and dynamics at work.
It was an age where sending invitations for a gathering meant licking stamps all day and walking down to the post office, when we actually knew all our friends and had to stand in queues just to deposit or withdraw money. It all sounds tedious and obsolete here but a long chat with your grandparents will definitely convince you of a few (if not many) reasons to secretly wish for that life. The fact that information is power and connectivity will help in the rapid development of our society needs no reaffirmations but what we really need to assess is the cost we have to pay for it. The lack of social life and heavy dependence on the virtual world has definitely affected our behaviour and psychologies, we no longer have the time or willingness to connect to people on a more personal and intimate level.
I think I speak for a majority of us when I say that the world was a happier place before this wicked angel bowled us all over with all its evil genius schemes. The intimate happiness we feel when we read a handwritten letter stands testimony to the feeling of alienation the dependence on social media and emails for personal communication has created.
I do not dismiss the immense advantages of the internet, just trying to keep my critical and creative faculties open. All the fatigue and restlessness as a result of always being connected has led me to wonder if we could still have been able to live the charm of that old life without much at stake. Let us all imagine a world without internet for a moment; what do we have to lose? Loss of a virtual life wouldn’t hurt so much if it comes with the joys of bringing people together in a more tangible and intimate level. The indispensible mobile phone would have compensated quite a bit for the instant chat services, what would really hurt would be global connectivity. Knowledge of the happenings around the world certainly helps us broaden our perspective and helps us develop our understanding of everything by providing numerous examples. Call me what you like but I happen to rejoice in the feeling of closely knit communities sharing joys and dividing sorrows. I know it instantly paints a picture of tribes in distant places dancing by the fire in an archaic setting, but you have to admit that it lifts your spirits.
I know I have described a utopian society, but isn’t it what everything is in the beginning? Just wondering.