In the grip of technology: our tendency to indulge

by matija-novakovic

From basic to advanced technology.

Humans have lived by themselves with primitive technology offering them little in the way of comfort or providing an outlet for indulgence for ages past, and in some parts, if for no other reason than their choice to, continue to do so. The very same technology that has helped us achieve things beyond our scope of abilities, has served to make us become dependent on it, and for some it has become the de facto way of experiencing the outside world. We can hardly imagine living our lives without electricity, cars, internet, computers, and mobile phones – nowadays the standard mobile phone is a smartphone to complete tasks 'on the fly'. The amount of comfort, luxury, and convenience advancements in technology have brought over the years is simply staggering. No more several day trips to a neighbouring town. No more waiting by the phone for a phone call from a friend or family member.Β  Everything is simply done through e-mail or text messages. Social media sites let us know what has occurred while we were away.

When technology becomes a vital element in your life.

Slowly but surely the way we perceive and tackle the world every day has been changing for a very long time. Partaking in sports, pushing yourself to your limits, and exuding healthy vigor was once the celebrated achievement. Fast forward to modern times, and replace all that with utilizing technology to be as efficient as possible. The trend has slowly shifted from the focus being on the person learning and gaining experience through everyday interaction with the world around them, to merely soaking up superficial data off a computer screen that someone else has experienced for them and made it available for their perusal. Hiking up into the mountains to get some workout in? Too time consuming and unpredictable weather-wise. Better to stay indoors and go to the gym. Walk down to the library, pick up a book and learn about some plants – or better yet go down to the nearby forest and see them for yourself? Why do that if you can just google for it, or read up on Wikipedia. Faster, more efficient, and saves time to do other things. As technology progressed, the average human being (in the Western world) has changed from being engaged in the immediate real life situation to one where being alert and engaged in a day-to-day situation is no longer desirable. It is much more desirable to be online and live our virtual lives. The price to make technology an essential part of your life is becoming dependent on it. But what do we use it for? To indulge in procrastinating? Waiting for a new post on Twitter or Facebook? Busy ourselves with the newest gadget? Or merely engage in a virtual world where we live our virtual lives. Perpetually indulging. gaming

Why don't we break away from it if it's that bad for us?

Once the item of your desire is made exclusively available for you, whenever and however you wish it to be, breaking away from it and seeing what you are doing is extremely difficult. This is why people who are addicted to gaming, to watching television, and so on, are so hard pressed to stop whatever they are doing. This can be expanded to any activity that takes us away from our present situation and makes use of our imagination. Who wouldn't want to be teleported to a world far away in an instant, to spend half a day there, then come back to the real world whenever they choose to? It is inherently very easy for humans to identify with many things, and perceive it as if it is right in front of them and real. We have built for ourselves an imaginary alternate world, where the real world is merely a place where things happen, but lives are not lived. The virtual world has in effect become the one true original even if it’s just a projection on the cave wall. We have gone from experiencing the world in true fashion, to downgrading ourselves to mere robots that perform tasks on a daily basis and call that β€œa life”. The relentless onslaught of information from the social media on all sides leads to addiction. To no longer just a wish, but a need to stay on top of everything. It comes to a point where you cannot imagine living without knowing. The relentless reliance on something outside of ourselves to give us comfort. Life used to be considered a journey because you could not lock yourself away in a perpetual moment, reliving it for an eternity. Once you accept that a moment that passed, has passed forever, you subject yourself to having to face your inevitable death at the end of your journey that is called life.

The horizon does not look too bright.

Not even a decade has passed since the first tablets came out. With the advent of virtual reality technology I expect there to be more options to indulge in virtual reality in ways that have not been possible up until now. The rise of the personal computer, and later on the smart phone have barely quenched the thirst for a variety of different experiences. The main advantage of living in a virtual world is being able to capture and hold a fleeting moment. Do not want to be forced to move along as if floating on a wild river? No problem, just choose not to move on yet. Up until now, the virtual world mostly consisted of us staring at a computer screen from a distance at the very least. With the new virtual reality sets (barring any breakthrough in hologram technology) we find ourselves in a bona fide real world experience that does not consist of us staring at a computer screen but takes a step further and plunges us into the world itself. Simply because it offers us a way out into a different world, far away from our everyday misery, is the indulgence in a virtual reality so coveted. With the rise of integrated systems becoming more sophisticated and complex, together with systems that offer complete and utter immersion, I don’t see the trend of changing the real life for a virtual one to change anytime soon.