We as a generation of the 21st century in a rapidly developing world, have seen the introduction, influx and phasing out of many modes of communication. Those in their late twenties today would recall the days without internet and email. When coming from our foreign vacations, we would talk of seamless communication systems that baffled many of our not-so-aware counterparts.
When back in Pakistan, we returned to the same old pen and paper communication methods, something that seems so much a matter of history now. While writing (read typing) this article, I am thinking of the mistakes I would have made on paper, when I would write a phrase or sentence, then cross it out if I didn\’t quite like the way it sounded. I would have run into countless sheets of paper, each containing one mistake or more. Not to mention the barrage of expletives that the typist would dish out to me when it came to reading my hand writing (if you still don\’t understand the kind of writing I have, you need to take a trip to the past – and stay there).
Its interesting how we as people sometimes take things so much for granted and only realize their true worth when we are either left high and dry without life\’s little luxuries.
Along came email, initially only acquired by a bank and a few government departments on an experimental basis, which slowly started to transpire into other sectors of society. Come internet, which meant email for all (who could afford access to a PC and an internet connection). I remember mobile phones being introduced around the same time frame. You could see people flaunting their one-tonne cell phones, many more people with fake units and/or fake communications on them at public places.
The age of online relationships started when MIRC started gaining popularity which later gave way to MSN, Yahoo & ICQ messengers. Communication over these proprietary messaging software was given higher credibility due to privacy issues. Now for some odd reason, this reason has always existed for everyone it continues to remain an issue even today for many. We haven\’t decided our privacy limits so far and neither have we determined our ultimate public profile. Are we too slow or just too confused?
We have now moved further on. We have surpassed the age of orkut, linkedin, multiply or anything else. We are back to human interaction, interspersed with the messaging services, and of course cell phones.
Even technological advancements are now supporting person to person interaction. Sensor by Nokia is one example. It allows you to create a visibility profile which shows to other members when you have your Bluetooth on. The standard 10 meter range still applies though.
It is our extensive communicating abilities that make us humans. We have languages and intelligences, senses and emotive expression. We satiate our social needs through communication of all forms. We read, we write, we speak we express, many a times just through our bodily features. Eyes in particular.
We have learnt multiple languages and now are able to connect across cultures and countries. We have taught lifeless machines to communicate, both with us and amongst themselves. We have bridges in the air around us and used it as a communication channel. Distances have vanished, time has lost meaning and ease of communication is always paramount.
We execute official tasks, do our homework, interact, socialize through free media, that allows us to communicate to our hearts content.
How connected are we really? As a society, how strongly are we interwoven? How far do we go to sacrifice our ego for others? Once inside our cool offices and cars, don\’t we all just turn on the radio and lock ourselves from the outside world? Don\’t we all go to social events where the same people are always there?
We shop from the hottest shops, snack at the place that\’s in vogue. Is it not always about us? Just us?
Have we learnt to laugh at ourselves yet? Do we ever realize how stupid and self contradictory we always are?
Despite all the developments, changes, enhancements and all the induction of new technology that we are still learning to use, we still haven\’t learnt to communicate.
Communicate with our inner selves, with our hearts and minds, see with whom they connect, and tune our senses accordingly.
Freedom can be mans greatest restraint, we just need to realize and make sure it doesn\’t happen. We have to make sure that we are not slaves to ourselves. We have to make sure we communicate.