I’m going to talk about slavery in our 21st century. You might think that slavery is a phenomenon linked to the old ages when war and lack of human rights were the norm. You might also picture slaves in your mind as groups of people tied in iron chains walking slowly with their heads down in humiliation. But is that what slavery really looks like? I believe not. Slavery never ended with the arrival of our modern times. This is a misconception. It only took on newer forms. In the present time, slavery comes in disguise. With huge technological advancements taking place rapidly, human freedom is being taken away without us noticing.
With the unveiling of the new iPhone event becoming watched by millions worldwide who sit on the edge of their seats counting down the days till they lay their hands on the new product, this widespread obsession with new gadgets is alarming. People tend to buy these new products without actually needing them. It has become a habitual practice, or in other words, an addiction. Rivalry between Apple and Google has made its way into everyday common discussions about which company offers better products and has fired hot debates everywhere. But, stop for a moment and think, who is the real winner from all of this? I cannot help but regard this generation as obeying slaves to technology, the incredibly powerful master. The sad thing about 21st century slavery is that the slave doesn’t realize it. He doesn’t fight against it. It is self-induced and this makes it even more complicated.
People are now driven by technology in every aspect of their lives. A person is now dependent on smartphones to wake up, communicate and feel happy. Wouldn’t you choose the Wi-Fi free area over the one that is not? Wouldn’t you choose to sit on the seat beside the power plug over the one that is not? Wouldn’t you choose to give up all your savings for that smartphone with a zillion megapixels camera? You would, wouldn’t you? But why? Does this make you any happier? Stop and wonder how the older generations acquired their happiness. For countless decades, humans lived with zero technology and nobody found it hard. People did not harvest their happiness from touch screens and digital pixels; they harvested it from happy experiences and memories. Technology masterminds are investing millions of dollars for the most effective marketing campaigns. Their only aim is to convince you that without technology, there would be no life.
Without a smartphone in your hand, you cannot function. Without connecting to servers, you cannot communicate. This idea of complete dependence on technology is gaining ground day after day. You don’t feel ok if you go out without your phone, or if you walk for a distance instead of driving your car. I believe that with this unfortunate response from people, technological companies will definitely reach their aim. In fact, they have now raised their marketing campaigns to make us believe that humans and technology are one entity. With Google glasses and iWatches being introduced and heavily advertised, these companies aim at erasing the line between us and technology, making technology an indispensable part of us that we cannot discard. People have already acquired some traits previously attributed to machines in this fast-paced era of ours. Most of us now fail to contemplate and wonder about the world as it is frowned upon and labeled as time wasting.
We don’t realize that most of our human discoveries and notable literary works were direct results of contemplation and meditation. Nothing extraordinary will result from someone working as a human machine. If anything is wireless in all this new technology, it would be our own chains to it. Try to disconnect from its tempting portals for a while. Happiness is not about the gadgets you own. Some would give anything for an expensive car or the latest collection of iPhones, tablets and laptops, but as for me, I’d rather ride my bike at the break of day and watch the sunrise as the chirping orchestra of birds begins performing their pieces. No notification beeps, no buzzing vibrations. Just the Earth and I without microchips present. No wireless chains.
Freedom and happiness lie in the natural world. Break your chains!