My head’ll explode if I continue with this escapism.
― Jess C Scott, EyeLeash: A Blog Novel
Being a so-called Gen Z (those who were born between 1996 and 2015 and are currently between 5-24 years old), you’d expect me to be absolutely fine, with sitting with my nose stuck in a screen, for 90% of the day. Growing up in this strange period of transition, one part of my life comprises of adults reprimanding the kids for getting addicted to technology, news of youngsters committing suicide after addictive use of devices or of those being disillusioned by what they watched leading them to commit heinous crimes.
The ongoing period; the second part, would have seemed ridiculous to anyone a couple of years ago; not only are we encouraged to use our devices for extensively long periods, but we are also losing the sense of independency we once held pride in. This slow but progressive transition from humans to machines with a heart is an interesting occurrence. It was expected we’d deform into clock-work creatures, what we never wanted to believe is that we would be enslaved to these inventions.
As cities grow and technology takes over the world belief and imagination fade away and so do we.
― Julie Kagawa, The Iron King
This pandemic has been a wonderful period of enlightenment for many and a devastating period of loss for a million others. Focussing on the tech part, I see a strangely contradictory situation. Students who once upon a time, craved for long hours with their devices are now complaining of exhaustion. You can’t deny that it sounds ridiculous when one complains of exhaustion from sitting in one place for too long.
I attend online classes in almost the same way I would watch a movie.
Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.
― Arthur C. Clarke
The contradictory and slightly hilarious part that stands out is that everyone is being punished equally. The grown-ups probably don’t like encouraging screen time and the children, while many will deny it, believe they got way more than they bargained for. I certainly did. It’s downright tiring to sit in front of a screen for hours. We do have breaks but it is still mentally exhausting and tests have become something of a joke.
You never realise the value of something until it’s gone, hence why you should always appreciate the little things in life.
I’ve read a lot of quotes that focus on how you don’t realise the importance of something until you have lost it, never to be regained. I’ve learned two concrete lessons from the gen z student life. The first is the importance of time, namely its value. Technology takes up a lot of it, more than it is supposed to. (Taxing, get it?) And as they say, the lesser you have, the more priceless it seems.
Secondly, the fact that too much of anything dilutes its true value, use and eventually results in a loss of interest, the ‘anything’ referring to technology here. I would give anything to take a week off everything and go offline for a solid 7 days. But, attendance is mandatory both in life and at school.
The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits
It’s funny how things have a habit of making you chase them and then they turn around, let you crash into them, and suck what life you have. It facilitates in adding more plastic to your life, strengthening the facade we have sadly come to call, “life.” This is exactly what I feel technology does on certain days. It occupies time that was meant for human stuff, like reading or talking or walking.
In the age of technology there is constant access to vast amounts of information. The basket overflows; people get overwhelmed; the eye of the storm is not so much what goes on in the world, it is the confusion of how to think, feel, digest, and react to what goes on.”
― Criss Jami, Venus in Arms
But whining is not going to get me or you anywhere. It never has and never will. It could solve problems but you are going to have to carry yourself through. And rather than focussing on how taxing it is, we also need to acknowledge how beneficial it is today. It is a privilege and curse to have access to so much while there are many who have been left behind in the tech race; people who are struggling to survive in a virtual world with little to no electronic substitutes.
Technology can be taxing, yes. But life can at the same time, be rewarding. Maybe, one day, we’ll fortunately, be able to look back to these days proudly, knowing we braved the storm of a century. But for now, we’ll content our tired hearts and souls with the bitter truth that our lives could be someone else’s dream.
This quote by Martin Luther King Jr. should be etched into each of our brains. Thank you so much for taking the time to read!
We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.