Oh my goodness, did you realize that in five years it will be the year 2023? What a ride it has been. I remember thinking that by now we would have flying cars and kids would be using their hoverboards to school! I thought that we would be learning advanced topics and subjects in schools where kids would basically become geniuses.
Boy, was I wrong! Most kids coming out of schools today can’t even tie their own shoe-laces. I thought we would have robots to do everything for us (well, I guess that’s part of the shoe-lace problem) and the world would be a much better place to live in because we would be using all our great new technology to advance the human race.
The human race can be pretty selfish
A lot of people are using technology to further themselves, at the expense of others.Do you realise that 51% of the world still does not have access to the internet? Never mind that, did you know that 60% of the planet still does not have access to running water? Instead of improving the lives of the majority of the World’s population we have big corporates trying to undermine their existence by stealing fresh sources of water, only to bottle it up and sell it for a profit for themselves, leaving hapless villages struggling to survive. I’m sure you know who I am talking about.
As we continue to rise and grow with great ambitions about where we can go next, from Earth to the Moon, from PCs and Macs to AI and self-driving cars, we are forgetting that there are many people we are leaving behind. The World is not unfair. Politics, governments, corporations and people are. We live on a planet with almost 7.6 billion people and only 1% owns half the world’s wealth. That is a statistic we have heard repeated a lot over the past few years as information about everything and everyone becomes more visible.
Do we control technology, or does technology controls us?
Does it really matter? Does it mean that if you have all the money, you can control the world? Well, pretty much. The world is controlled by the elite few, and yes, they control your world too. Unless, of course, you decide to live outside this whole microcosm they have created for you. Sometimes I just want to buy a farm in the middle of nowhere and live off the grid. No tv, no radio, no Google.
I am so tired of technology and people trying to control me under the guise of user experience and advancing technology. No, I don’t want you to track all my interactions online, no I don’t want you to tell me what videos to watch, what news to read, who to like, what I might like, who to follow, who to connect with, what to do today! Stop telling me what to do! Do you realise how technology is taking away our freedom by limiting our choices? You don’t even know the half of it.
Do you think big corporations are not including their own agendas in the selective information they surface to you? Have you noticed how they are constantly trying to keep you happy by feeding you only information they think you want to see? You have lost your ability to choose. You have lost the option to think for yourself. Big data and analytics have largely removed that for you.
You are being directed in a way that is most profitable for the corporations and governments that bandy together to get the last few cents out of your wallets. You are being distracted with the pretty, shiny things that they know you like, what you might like, what others like you are liking and worse yet, what they want you to like. You don’t get to see the real world anymore. You are distracted, drugged into a digital coma and barely existing in the real world, all the while something sinister is happening underfoot and you are too much of a zombie to notice.
Parents take heed
Let your children grow up to think for themselves. They are already being brainwashed by big data, cartoons, apps, Talking Tom and other such drivel, all because you are too distracted yourself to stop and take notice. We are too busy living our own virtual lives to connect with others around us in real life. No, it’s not okay to Whatsapp your son to come for dinner when he is in the same house. No, it’s not okay to stalk your kids on Facebook just to figure out what they are up to and who they hang out with. No, it’s not okay to give your child the remote control or iPad just so you can have a few moments of peace and see who’s liked your last photo of the fabulous dinner you just made. No, it’s not okay that the only real friend your child has is Siri and it’s not okay for them to verbally abuse her for fun.
What has this world come to?
We need to stop, take stock of where we are and what we are doing with our lives. Most of us are passively going along the path that has been paved for us by the 1% of the population that tries to control us. We go to school, learn whatever they feed you, be friends with who they tell you, study where they want you to, get a job, work in an office, do what they want you to do, earn how much they give you, buy what they tell you to buy, think what they want you to think. You are living in a box. Wake up people, it’s time to get your life back. Sure it’s easier to go with the flow, and most people see nothing wrong with it.
In five years, it will be 2023 and many of you will cease to exist. Your bodies will still be here, still drudging along, still working, earning, eating, sleeping, still watching. You will not be here. Your mind, your soul, your spirit, that essence of thought inside your head will be gone. Maybe you will wake up one day and wonder how you got to where you are. Maybe you will be content with everything you thought you wanted, or everything they made you think you wanted. Who knows?
One thing is for sure though, some of us don’t want to be passive participants in our own lives, we want to live consciously.
Tips on how to digitally detox and be more conscious
- Practice the remembrance of Allah in everything you do. We are supposed to say Bismillah before we do anything. Can you really do that before you post those pics of you in your latest outfit, posing with your iPhone? Can you honestly do that while wasting three hours of your day trolling through social media?
- Just delete those apps. If you find yourself constantly checking an app such as Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter for the latest updates, latest news, random snippets or just because you are bored, delete them from your phone.
- If you are using them for work, get another phone and limit that usage to a specific time during the day where you check those messages.
- Get rid of Facetime and do face-to-face time with your family
- Get outdoors, go for a walk, spend time in the garden, breathe some fresh air. See what the real world looks like. Get some sunshine on your skin. Appreciate the beauty and creation of Allah.
- Turn off the television. Spend a few quality minutes of your time just talking to your kids, asking them what happened at school, what they did for the day, how they felt about it. Don’t give up. It may seem strange at first, but you will both enjoy this time together after a while.
- Eat dinner as a family together – without devices at the table. There should be a rule that no devices are allowed to come to dinner. Sit at a table and do not turn on the tv while you are eating.
- Try reading an actual Qur’an with your family. Sure you might have apps so you can read ‘on the go’, but take time to relax and fully immerse yourself in the process of reading, touching and experiencing the Qur’an again.
- Discuss topics about how other people on the planet live. Help your kids develop empathy. They might be more privileged than the majority of kids on the planet if they have access to running water, a good home, access to the internet etc. and they just have no idea how the other half lives. Show them what life is like for other people less fortunate. Find ways they can help out.
- Share stories about people who are making a difference in the world. Muslim kids these days are hard pressed to find good role models in real life. Make sure you are armed and ready with people they can relate to that will help them discover good values in themselves.
- Do physical activities, play games or just spend time with your family away from the mobile phones, TVs and computers. If you are busy, make sure you schedule ‘disconnect-from-devices-connect-with-people time’ with them.
- Be a good role model yourself. If you don’t want your kids to be a digital device junkie, you shouldn’t be one either. Don’t tell them to give up something if you haven’t done it yourself.
- Don’t give up. It will be hard to adjust, but it will be worth it.
- Give your family real hugs, not just likes on social media.