Passing the buck, finding a scapegoat, laying the blame elsewhere – call it what you will, but that’s exactly what we’re doing with technology. We humans are an ungrateful lot that just cannot be satisfied no matter what; we want to have our cake and eat it too, and that’s why we want all the comforts and conveniences that technology makes possible, but yet are unwilling to accept responsibility for using said technology wisely. Any wonder then that we complain about how the Internet has deteriorated the quality of our personal lives, how Facebook has invaded our privacy and destroyed it completely, and how social networks have reduced all our interactions to the virtual kind?
But if you stop to think for just a moment and are honest enough to admit the truth to yourself at least, you are bound to realize that it is you who are to blame if your life is a mess because of technology and not technology itself. Before you grumble about the Internet and its tendency to make you waste time, take stock of your self control – if you are able to focus your mind on spending only as much time as is necessary on the web and doing only productive work, then you have nothing to complain about. Set aside an hour everyday for relaxation and recreation on the web and use the rest of your time only for work or useful research.
If you worry about privacy on Facebook and how it has pervaded every aspect of your life and is getting out of control, just take a deep breath, think carefully, and then delete your account. It’s not as hard as they make it out to be – you have to confirm your deletion in two small steps, and then just not log in for the next two weeks. Of course Facebook is going to tempt you to get back in the fray; after all, it’s their business to do so. But if you’re really committed to saying goodbye, then that’s exactly what you must train your mind to do. It’s like cutting off a detrimental relationship or giving up an addiction – cold turkey hurts the most, but is always the best option in the long run.
The web and other forms of technology are just tools, and your tool is only as powerful or as harmful as you make it out to be. Remember, a gun can kill both ways depending on the way it is pointed, so it’s up to you to ensure where the muzzle is before you shoot. As of now, we’re doing a real good job of blaming the messenger for all our ills, and the sooner we wake up to this fact, the sooner we can reclaim our lives, the one that we claim was stolen by technology.