The Social Brain Drain

By Mahvish Akhtar

The Idle Connections:
Technology has become a huge part of our everyday lives. We don’t get out of bed in the morning withoutchecking what the King of South Africa is up to. Whether these devicesare pure knowledge that make us powerful or cause dependency that makes us unable to function without the crutch we have created for ourselves is a question only we can answer for our own self.
Our big beautiful brains are empty; ratherwe don’t know how to use them anymore. I wouldn’t recommend using at least MY brain all the time because it doesn’t come up with the most intelligent stuff. It has itsshining moments though. I’lljot down some of the greats someday. That will make for a real fun read. I just mean in general, as a people we are never just with our thoughts much these days. We are not exploring the depths of the creativity and emotions that is buried there. We have started to refer to that as being “bored” or “idle”. Our bodies and specially hands need constant movement. If that is not happening our brain feels as though something is not right with our body and we feel emotionally unsettled. I am no Neurologist or Scientist of any kind, but I do understand what I see and how I feel. We do it without even realizing it, buy products that will allow us to stay connected with everything all the time. We call it safety but it’s actually the fear of the unknown. We want to predict the future rather than to be surprised by it. Where is the fun in that? The bigger picture that is probably more troubling; if we let ourselves think about it, it is that we avidly believe that because everything seems to be more calculated, and on our fingertips thereforeeverything around us is safer, is it really? Is it really any of those things?
Communication:
Back to brains: well all this is about our brain. The way we use our brain is changing. The way we think we should use it and the way we were meant to use it have become different. There is a lot of irony in this statement because the brain becomes whatever you think and that then becomes the right definition of its function. However, if we forego uses of it at certain periods of time, what do we call that? I mean I know technically its not possible but practically it happens all the time.
I was in the dentist’s office. The procedure was not going to be anything fun, and it waslengthy, so I had put all my belongings away. Including my phone. During the process the dentist decided that we should take a breather.
I was sitting on that chair, with 3 other people in the room and absolutely nothing to do. The first thing my hands did was search in my lap for the phone. I knew it wasn’t there, but I went through the motions anyway. There wasn’t enough time to actually go and getit, so I decided to just relax and go to my “happy place”. I don’t know what that means anymore. It’s not a world of dreaming and wondering anymore. It’s not a world where I create what gives me comfort as it used to. Now those free spaces in our minds are nothing more than boredom until we can have our thumbs moving anddisconnect from the people around us to connect to the world, beyond our reach.
I am absolutely not against technology, its been a lifesaver for mankind in this pandemic. Im against losing myself in it. Im against not knowing where my brain stops and where a machine starts. Im against being around three human beings and still looking for a device to occupy my time.
We’ve gone and created these spaces where life is different from what it really is.Nothing is as it seems. As if getting lost in an imaginary world wasn’t bad enough, we are left wanting that world for ourselves thinking it’s real, and when we can’t have it we are disappointed in ourselves thinking something is wrong with us. We don’t realize that the pictures, movies, videos that people put up on the internet are so edited and perfectly filtered that they are basically a shell of reality. We get addicted to both wanting it and absorbing it.
The Reality:
There have been great many discussions about what kind of contribution technology has made in our lives. I tell you that I don’t remember what I did before emails. I cant imagine my life without text messages anymore. I pile these things up in the pros column. This of course is just the tip of the ice berg, it would be accurate to say, maybe even just one square inch of the tip. So, not all bad, mostly good.
We’ve become little kids in a candy store however, we want everything right now, right here. What happens if our shipment is a day late? What happens if someone doesn’t answer our text message on time? We are not used sitting with our thoughts anymore. We are not used to being patient anymore. My kid asked me how we make jam. I googled it. Within seconds we had the recipe. After doing so I realized that I had made jam before. Had I given my mind time to function before starting to click away I could have not just given him facts, I could have given him my experience. I could have shared a memory with him.
I still did, but he wasn’t as interested as he would have been if he hadn’t gotten what he needed. We have very short attention spans. They are getting shorter and shorter as time passes. There is no reason for us to look for details in little things. We’ve become people of bottom lines now. While that may not be the worst thing, there are downsides to moving on too quickly.
There is something to be said about getting lost in a story. Something to be said about imagining the exact shape of that fruit or the smell of the spring day. How can it ever be the same as experiences? It is just someone else’s senses being relayed to us. This is someone else’s experiences being told to us like our own.
The need for fast and quick, the need to google the smell instead of going out and smelling the roses is what takes us away from our reality.
We will have a choice in wanting to use what we have on our fingertips or abuse it. No one object is ultimately good or evil; It is merely an object.
· we are never just with our thoughts much these days. We are not exploring the depths of the creativity and emotions that is buried there. We have started to refer to that as being “bored” or “idle”. Our bodies and specially hands need constant movement.
· Im against being around three human beings and still looking for a device to occupy my time.
· We’ve gone and created these spaces where life is different from what it really is.
· There is something to be said about getting lost in a story. Something to be said about imagining the exact shape of that fruit or the smell of the spring day. How can it ever be the same as experiences? It is just someone else’s senses being relayed to us. This is someone else’s experiences being told to us like our own.



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