the bane of google
July 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s one of the most famous verbs these days. If something isn’t google-able, people can even be quick to assume that (a) it doesn’t exist or (b) nobody knows about it. In fact, it might even be competing with Descartes’ famous “I think, therefore I am.” Maybe an alternative of “It’s in Google, therefore it is” would be an acceptable update to that outdated statement (but a discussion on this matter of “thinking” deserves an entirely different post). With the exception of places not provided with an easily accessible network connection, I think the existence of Google has instilled in people the fear of asking another human being. This probably does not include well meaning friends who would gladly answer your questions for you, or mentors that responsibly re-design knowledge to make it more comprehensible. Of course there’s also the egoistic mind who would love to demonstrate its vast knowledge without the aid of common technology. I’m talking about the workplace – where everyone is busy, and a harmless question can appear to be the biggest blunder of stupidity when someone tells you, “Why don’t you Google it?”. Isn’t it so easy after all? And in fact, there is also a high probability that the person you will ask will resort to Google as well. (This is assuming you’re asking a valid and relevant question). I do not deny the fact that the existence of search engines has made our lives easier and information a million fold accessible, but as with all advantages, there is a set of disadvantages that have to be dealt with. That’s just how life is – it isn’t fair, and it was not made to be perfect. (That doesn’t mean its any less beautiful). Because information is very much accessible to everyone, it has surely fulfilled its promise of saving time and resources for a lot of businesses because with just a sleight of hand, what you”re looking for is literally a distance of a couple of finger taps. I wonder how children who woke up to a Google-existing consciousness even think nowadays. Does not finding an answer in Google result to a mind-boggling state of “That’s weird. Why?”. But with the matter of increased efficiency aside, it’s worth evaluating if this culture of Google-ing things has made inquisitive interaction less desirable. Is it not acceptable anymore to want to ask people personally, rather than search through a pile of information from strangers (prominent or otherwise)? At times, it seems as if technology has really tied us up into our post. The prospect of fattening up to the sizes of “the-people-in-Wall-E” standards is inarguably higher, and we can thank the increase in vanity and YOLO/travel lifestyles for keeping the pandemic of obesity and inactivity at bay. Ironically, even if technology has saved us more time, it eats up that time as well. Social networking (and yes I am a user myself) has created an alternate reality where things are most likely filtered and re-filtered. And although it can be a platform for proclaiming your individuality, there is reason for me to think that for the major part, what it promotes is uniformity in trying to be accepted and to be one with the majority. And because the borders of this reality and the “true” reality are becoming less and less pronounced, people will inevitably start living in this way. The mind is a pliant form of energy. If you post what you live, then the inverse that you live what you post is as feasible as happening. No wonder filtering has extended into our daily relationships – where people are afraid to voice out what they think, and instead relegate themselves to neutrality. It hides in the face of being “good-natured”, but the truth is, we’re just losing the soul to be different. The soul to be crazy in our own brand. For what is sanity but “collective madness”, as Paulo Coelho vividly portrayed in Veronika Decides to Die.
Why am I writing this anyway? It would probably do well to just trash this post again and disappear into the cloak of being too busy. For months I had been at a loss of not being able to surmount a prolonged writer’s block. I was becoming more productive at work (i.e. research), but everything else almost seemed at a halt. I thought it was a coping mechanism, and in fact it was. To divert myself from the grief of losing my mom, I tried to think of other things – and in effect forget certain things. But I forgot too much. I was forgetting who I was, why I was doing this, and what I want to live for and die for. Not that I’ve well-defined those things already, but it was frightening to realize how easy it is to lose yourself in seemingly innocuous activities. I resorted to a lot of different things to pacify the hole I felt, but nothing seemed to be working. It was only when I started to look inside myself again that I realized I need to take a step back and re-align. I’m writing this as a self-reminder, and as another Google-able piece for drifting surfers. I fell into the pit too, but I’m trying to come out of it. It requires continuous and conscious effort, but it makes me feel more present in this world.