On Libraries And Technology: What Perils Are We Ignoring?

A central library, hundreds of murmuring students, and a book in hand: what does this situation read like? I read it as a perfect place to rest my mind, and get on with my day’s schedule.

Representational image.

Armed with my laptop and to-do list, I sit down in this space for hours every day. This space—this white space—is filled with a lot of chairs and tables, aligned horizontally in a line, with equal space between them. The room’s whiteness emanates from the hundreds of the panel lights gleaming from the ceiling atop. Students come here busy in themselves or in their groups, to study or discuss their subjects in low hushed tones with each other.

The place has gained a kind of significance, as it has almost become a regular affair for me to come here and wind up the day’s work. I don’t know if libraries with their elaborate reading rooms are supposed to create this calming ambiance, but this one does, and that’s great!

One thing that really annoys me about this place is the students’ casual attitude and disregard for what they owe this place. Instead of making good use of it, they end up spending their entire time on the phone, YouTubing, Instagramming, whiling away time.

I feel that a short attention span, attention disorder, ease of access to information, and the belief that everything is available at one’s fingertips, at the click of a button, is making students lazy.  They are not willing to dig deeper. They tire out easily. their tolerance power has become zero. This all leads to the creation of a generation that is not interested in scientific know-how but wants immediate results.

If a sociologist has to look at this, they will call it a new phenomenon and give it some cultural term for its recognition, but I don’t think that will help. It feels as if the entire young lot here in the library has been affected by technology, instead of gaining from it. It was supposed to aid them in life so that one could bring order into the chaos that is human life. But now life seems more chaotic than ever.

The question that stares at us in the face is—Why?

The answer to it: overindulgence. Overindulgence, right from mankind’s history, has been it’s ugliest of vice, capable of doing life-long damage. One who can control their desires, their thoughts, and the undeniable wills and whims, is a being who can lead their life towards the path of success. Overindulgence in pleasure would lead you towards displeasure. It has to be carefully balanced. That’s why life is about making order out of chaos.

But are our technology-fed brains ready to notice this idea? No, they aren’t. So what we can do? Should we also go for the mindless digital detoxes, and get relief? Well, it seems like a solution, but for the short-run. This requires a conscious attempt at an individual level. An attempt that will take them towards a more meaningful life, where they will have control over their fate, unlike the app developers these days, who control them remotely.

Can it happen on its own? No, it has to be implanted in the minds of people as an idea. Campaigns should be made and run everywhere to highlight this case before us, to make everyone aware of what are they giving themselves into before it gets too late.

It’s good that the state thinks that the increased numbers of the phone and internet penetration of the country amount to quick growth, but they shouldn’t ignore the perils of technology. And if they are doing it, that means they are indirectly encouraging the mindlessness amongst people, a direct result of the 24 by 7 technology exposure.

It’s a thin line that should be carefully walked on.

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