Human beings have made some amazing achievements. It is said with a great deal of certainty that, we are living in the time when we can enjoy comforts and achievements unlike any time in history. If this were true, human beings should be happier, healthier, and more satisfied than ever before. Do we find this to be the case? Or are we rather finding human beings to be impatient, self-centered, and generally very unhappy?
There is no doubt, the vast majority of mankind is finding itself unhappy. It should seem like the most elementary of achievements – to find the way to be happy – and yet it eludes us. Why? The reason seems to be of our own making. It can be said that, the way we interact with ideas is itself a stepping stone from where we launch into greater unhappiness.
It is a thing to marvel at, the way computer technology and the Internet found almost universal appeal. There is hardly a place on earth, hardly a society that has remained untouched by these inventions. The result has been a proliferation of ideas. This proliferation of ideas has, however, not met with a simultaneous change in real living situations.
From the time of radio and television
Mankind stepped into a new era when information could be transmitted over invisible waves to bring audio, and then, a combination of audio and video to so many people. It is altogether curious to see, how people first responded to radio programs. Those responsible for producing and broadcasting such programs had to understand, what kind of content would appeal to listeners. The same can be said of television. We started playing with the human mind in a way that wasn’t possible before.
Radio and television caused dreams to be transmitted over invisible waves to millions.
In a way, the closest we had ever been to such stimulus was in our own private dreams. When a person dreams, he hears sounds and sees pictures. Sometimes it is so vivid, that a person cannot even tell if he is dreaming or he is awake. Someone must have realized the power of being able to put the human mind in a state similar to dreaming. Radio and television are the crude human attempts to do so. They are not the same as dreams but, are fairly comparable. No longer the private experience of one person, radio and television became the medium for the masses. It can be said, dreams were sent over invisible waves into the homes and minds of countless millions.
How the online world became a unique step forward
The online world became the next graduation from what was started through radio and television. The early users of those mediums were limited in their control over the information. The most any person could do was, to turn his radio or television on or off. Then came channels. Finally, we came to have so many channels and so many languages, it became impossible to keep up with.
The way the online world is set up, the user feels in control.
Why could it be said, that putting the information online changed society and individuals? It was the control over information. The way we input our queries, demands, or requests into mobile devices and computers puts the control in the hand of the user. This is how it seems, does it not? We find what we are looking for. Be it Google, Amazon, or a new site like CNN. There is a limitless variety of information, and the user is the one searching.
How the progression of technology is not merely accidental
It would seem very logical that radio and television came before the Internet. We can see it as the development of technology. However, one should also think about how this particular sequence – radio, then television, and then user-devices connected to the Internet – has affected human society.
It is quite clear, the broadcasting of programs over the radio and television conditioned the masses. Cultures underwent irreversible changes due to these inventions! The time came decades ago when a child was exposed to these technologies even before he learned right from wrong. Everything this child learned was either through directly consuming information from these mediums, or learning from those who themselves were affected by these. The people responsible for producing and spreading the content held enormous power over society.
Putting the power back in the hands of the people
It is not just the technology, but how it has been employed that makes for very interesting developments. Just hypothetically: If the Internet was opened to the public when it became ready for use, and radio or television had never become available, we would have been in a very different world. One still wonders if the Internet technology and its connected devices came soon enough into the hands of the common people. Or was it rather the case, that society was already conditioned by radio and television broadcasts by then?
It can be said that the generation born in the 70s was suitably conditioned by television to then, become independent producers of information on the Internet. A dreamy blend of fantasy and reality was already working the minds. The Internet was just the technology waiting to redirect the world. The world too was ready to embrace the Internet and take into its new, unknown direction. In all this realization of freedom, it wasn’t realized how much the minds of people had already become beholden to the programming of television and radio. 1
It is not the most interesting to see the development of technology. It is even more interesting to see what those technologies have come to be used for. A powerful explanation was well presented in a revolutionary movie – The Matrix. With all this empowerment, are we not working with minds that have already been captured by the training of generations before now! The dissatisfaction, the unhappiness is understandable.
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