A long, long time ago we used to live in small communities. The women talked with one another at the well where they fetched the water and did the laundry and on Sunday our families met in the park. The children played, we exchanged news. We knew a lot about each other and were aware of what was happening outside the village, insofar as we had an interest in it. When a stranger entered the village, he was looked at with suspicion. His reliability was questioned in advance. An outsider had to do his utmost to be accepted. We villagers were awake and didn’t allow someone to pull the wool over our eyes.
A long time ago, the printed word appeared; books and newspapers and magazines. We were suddenly able to decide for ourselves what news to take in. In our heads and houses. Not just everything that was written was taken for granted. We took time to exchange ideas with others about what we read and to think about all the information and would form our opinion. What we didn’t like, remained outside the door.
Long ago the radio appeared. In almost every house, information was obtained without leaving the front door or without letting anyone in. Just like that, without calling or knocking it was in the middle of the room. The government initially ruled the channels and that made the flow of information one-sided. The government could tell all kinds of fairy tales and provide coloured information without any verification of truth by us. It was so magical that we developed an almost blind belief in what came out of the radio. We still went to the park though and talked about the news from the radio. A critical person had a hard time because he was the exception in our once so close community. Yet there were still plenty of people who actively thought about it.
Not long ago the television came. The government could now show through moving images what it wanted. No one went to the park to talk to each other, about each other and the world. The tube did its job and still does its job. We loved watching TV. It slows down the brain waves to the alpha state, the same state that reaches us when we sleep. And in that sleep mode all kinds of information flows into our heads. We thought that we would forget all that again and that turned out to be untrue. We humans store all that information. Somewhere. Like software. It only comes up when the situation triggers it. Watching TV is physically addictive, because it makes us calm and inactive.
Recently Internet, smart phones and tablets arrived. The information flow is growing and growing. Whatever display we pick up, there is always relief for our physical addiction. A quick fix, again and again. It is comforting, it is an escape from reality, it fills our lives and it all takes little effort. The blind belief in what is presented to us is a fact. If there is someone with a different opinion right now – someone who thinks critically – then he is the odd man out there who doesn’t understand it. Because imagine that we wake up from that trip and we realize that we have become a slave to consumerism and more.
In the near future, today’s children will crave a chip in their head so that they no longer have to hold or charge a device and just listen to what is being whispered in their heads. They don’t have to learn anything anymore because Wikipedia is all time present. Learning in the community is also a thing of the past; those who manage the chip control the entire education; much easier than controlling the people through a screen in every house. 1984 is obsolete.
When you’ve read up to here you can say I’m a pessimist. Then I say that you need a thorough shake-up. Put your phone or tablet down, straighten your neck and look around you. Start wondering what you are doing here in this life. What is the essence? Be aware that waking up is as difficult as kicking off a drug or alcohol addiction and perhaps even harder. Good luck. It ‘s worth it!