Let us do that one Admirable Exercise, Let us THINK

Malavika Krishna
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Malavika Krishna
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‘Poirot’, I said. ‘I have been thinking’. ‘An admirable exercise my friend. Continue it.’
This is an excerpt from Agatha Christie- Peril at End House; a book is of the genre mystery and this line struck me for some reason. “Thinking”, an admirable exercise; well! Let me put a question straight to your face. How many of us ‘THINK’ these days? ‘THINK’ in the sense, ‘think and analyze’ before execution; be it our actions or words. There are many instances where I could see and realize that those who THINK are the exceptions today. But here in this article let me stick on to a more profound one.

With the advancement of technology, gadgets and the virtual world around do most of the THINKING for us. This has brought us to a point where, in a practical real-life situation, we are unable to evaluate and deduce a right conclusion or solution. Yes I mean it!!!
Whenever there is a query against any portions taught in the class, or if there is any extrapolative question that looks difficult at first sight, we generally opt to ask our “Google Bro” or refer any educational websites for a readymade answer. When I say this, many of us, of course not all, would feel a tingling somewhere deep inside. We do not bother to think and solve the question by our own, or clarify the topic with a teacher. Rather, we believe that what is given in those websites is the right answer and without even giving a second thought, we copy and mug it up. We find this option much more convenient and satisfying. Oh My God, there is really someone in the virtual world who THINKS for us.

Doing arithmetic or copying answer from websites is the simplest form of the ‘no thought before the act’. Let me move a step ahead, “The Social Media’. Every morning we get ‘GOOD MORNING’ messages in picture format from many of our contacts. The phone getting jammed in between our use due to memory issues is common nowadays. Do we really reciprocate a warm wish for such picture messages? It is a sad reality that we are lazy enough even to type out a ‘Good Morning’. It is always better to call and wish a sincere good morning to our friends or at least type it out, rather than a ‘thoughtless’ and ‘emotionless’ picture message. The same goes for the festivity wishes too. It annoys a person rather than feeling good. It’s alarming; there is someone in the virtual world who THINKS and DECIDES for us, how to wish our friends. Solution is simple. Just decide today that you will wish your dear and near ones with your own words.

Have you ever noticed the shared information which pops up on social media, be it Facebook or WhatsApp for that matter, saying ‘this child is a cancer patient and WhatsApp/ Facebook has guaranteed 1 dollar per share OR this child is missing, please share and help him reach his mother OR someone found a herb as a cure for all kinds of diseases, and many more of this sort? Do you think that WhatsApp/ Facebook would try to help a person depending on the number of times a photo or message is shared? No. But still we get such forwarded messages frequently. Why? The answer is so easy. We don’t care to THINK. Most of the time those forwarded messages are the product of someone’s fantasy.

If we notice, they appear without any proper information supporting the story or any detail regarding the victim. They appear even without a date of happening. It could be the old news still getting circulated just as in the case of the little singer Jayalakshmy from Kerala. A video where she sings a Hindi song got shared on social media with a caption that “a poor 9 year old maid girl singing like Latha Mangeshkar”. This happened long back in 2014 and within few weeks the truth was out. The girl was actually the daughter of a soldier from a small village in Kerala who lives happily with her parents and NOT a maid girl. She is now known all over India for her exceptionally melodious and beautiful singing. Do you know how I came to know about it? The same video clipping got forwarded to my Mom’s WhatsApp last week, after 4 successful years of her celebrity status; to our surprise it came with the very same old caption, “a poor maid girl singing”.

This incident can reveal how absurd and insane our ‘thoughtless sharing’ is. It is not that social media is completely hopeless, but it is scary to realize how carelessly we use a powerful media like this. We are simply being duped. It is high time we understand this. Of course there are instances when it really helped someone around us. Again, if you look a bit deeper, those who got help through this media were all genuine ones. Either the information shared had proper time, place, and other primary details including the person to contact OR there was someone who clearly thought, analyzed and found the truth behind that media shared information before stepping out with a call for help.

It is sad to realize that our kindness, care and concern for the fellow being and the willingness to share, just gets over by a touch of our finger on the ‘SHARE’ button of a smart phone. It’s disgusting; there is someone in the virtual world who THINKS and DECIDES for us, what is to be shared and cared for. But the solution is simple. Just decide to be self-disciplined and that you will forward only those messages which can be identified clearly as genuine. Instead of a share in the virtual world why can’t we use our compassion to provide actual help to someone around us by giving them food, water, clothes, an option to find a shelter, and a mode of living?

We witness so many un-necessary fights these days based on politics and religion just because people can no longer think and analyze what is really happening, again on social media. Newspapers are getting replaced not even by the website of the published dailies, but the ‘trolls and jpeg cards’. It is sickening to see people read and believe the things written on such trolls/ jpeg images and react when the reality is far ahead or behind. People don’t even care to find the actual news before reacting. When we do not think before we react, the wrong emotions get attached to it. We are made to believe what is appearing on the phone/laptop screen and just randomly share whatever we get, without giving a second thought on it. It’s shocking; there is someone in the virtual world who THINKS and DECIDES for us, what is to be believed. Again the solution is simple. Just have the patience to know and explore the truth behind.

A strong medium which can be used to educate the world, provide the world with right information, is being misused. Social media is just an example. With the practice of depending blindly on ready made things available on the web world, our brain is also slowly getting programmed to believe all such information, blindly. We are programmed to believe and take what comes in front of us, without a doubt. Scary; there is someone unknown who controls our thought process.
What if this, in long run, shutdown our natural ability to think and analyze?

What if this, in long run, pushes us to believe all that the world of internet or social media offers? What if this, in long run, takes away from us the sensibility to distinguish the truth in people and events around us?
What if this, in long run, affects our ability to understand a matter in its right sense?

My grandfather adds up numbers within seconds in his mind, just like Matilda. When my curious mind asked him how he always did it, he replied me that it was all just a matter of constant practice. He believes that our mind would be clear and works faster in analyzing things and getting into right conclusion only when our brain is healthy and dynamic. No wonder he is a perfect decision maker in the family.

When we opt for a calculator to do even the simplest of arithmetic, we ignore or conveniently forget that mental math can help us keep our brain active. We must remember that we have these devices makes our life easy, but thoughtless dependency would destroy us. If we are not able to THINK and DECIDE for ourselves, we will not be able to lead a meaningful life.

As a 10th grade student social media is not my arena of action. But as a social being who has kept her eyes and ears wide open, I am getting the vibes around me quite enough to have a second thought on it. Our decision making ability should not be pledged to the unknown ‘someone’ in a virtual world. Our thoughts have a lot of power. Do not let your gadgets or the virtual world around you influence your thought process and your ability to think. The incomparable combination of your brain and mind can guide you through your life. Use it. Think before you do anything. It is definitely an admirable exercise, friends please continue it.

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