Even before you think about it, here’s my disclaimer, I love pets,cats, dogs, all animals except humans as pets- because humans being who they are, are simply un-tamable! Join me here to know why it is important not to bite back at what bites you!
The past few years, the time that we are transiting now and the few years that lie head of us, all have and probably will witness an ever growing approach of humanity- which is will be something like- you did this so I do this! Well, as long as this remains to be a child’s play date- it seems fine- that too when it is within the limits! When adults start to behave that way- as they run nations, corporations and to a certain extent their families and themselves- well society is all but set up for one disaster unto the next- because everyone’s speaking and no one is listening!
If Industrial revolution, made us more crazy workers, operational wizards and business tycoons were created from the cradles of that system, it also simultaneously held on to the values of humanity, collaboration, community care and so on and so forth, sure enough few of the social value were attained only after some struggle across different societies of the world. But essentially during this era, which lasted well until the early 80’s, even as human society made advancements technologically in almost every sphere that one could think about- humanity was still able to hold on to the proverbial human glue of compassion and care- perhaps not spread equally everywhere, but it was visible and could entrap any human who ventured too close so that even the odd care free souls could be knitted into this web of humanity!
Something changed as we embraced the dawn of the digital economy- the human connect- and the need of human interaction, the way we knew it and we should have continued it- changed forever- devices, gadgets, screens and automated messages began to replace that essential warm shake hand, that hug and that pat on the back- with the whole world of emoticons that you can possibly think of! But hasn’t the digital revolution eased our life? Sure it has, but like with every technology and every tool- as long as you apply that technology or tool at hand to create something meaningful it helps, the moment you want to abuse it, you will be harmed! A hammer that is used to shape molten metal to create metallic art forms, while that same hammer thrown at someone- could mean a certain walk to the hospital! You may say, that’s all fine, now what- what’s biting back and how? Read on!
Unlike the earlier revolutions that humanity witnessed, none has changed societies the way the digital revolution has, it has disconnected societies even as it has connected the world! As humans we have lost the value, the color and the intensity of the interactions that we had amongst us, before the dawn of the digital age- now while that may be a blessing for a few, it has undoubtedly turned out to be a curse for the millions of people across societies! You see, unlike the earlier times, even as people accepted and embraced the social divide between the rich and the poor, diverse opinions, the working class and the employment providers, there was never an unwarranted urge or drive to rush towards being a success story and make it the sole purpose even if that meant trampling upon anything and everyone that stood between the individual and the opportunity! So why did this change? How has the society of today, encouraged this, why has a digital society which should have been connected become seemingly so dangerously polarized and complicated where every other person seems to be hounding the other!
What digitization, has done is, it has played over our minds to begin with and later on as we progressed and advanced, with the cost of staying connected being cheaper than buying a nutritious meal, our malnourished minds have happily lapped up and consumed everything that is served over the screens- sense and non-sense in equal measure and needles to say- all that seems to be too easy to be true is readily believed – that is what the human brain is programmed to do! You see, as long as your brain is sure that you are not getting killed, it doesn’t matter which post you liked or which share you did or what you said or which snap you uploaded! It’s only when regulatory frame around has started to get more meaningful that now some minds have started to think before they rush to act over the digital space!
This reckless human behavior is now, not limited to the online space and this un- serving approach has trickled down into the way we engage offline too and the results are everywhere to see- road rage, outbursts of anger, bouts of fist fight, mob mentality, believing that might is right, failure to listen, connect, engage, listen and collaborate- because more and more time spent on the online world has gone to reinforce the belief that Alone is good, I am fine, perhaps the best! So when real life encounters with real smart people begin to manifest, the online perceptions about people engagement begin to fade away and one quickly is able to see the gaping void within oneself! This is where shit happens and that urge to start biting back at everything and everyone around!
People, not all, but a decent number have now reached a point where for them to define what is normal, is a task unto itself and the time will not be too far, when videos will have to played teaching people the right way to shake hands and communicate to re-engage with other people! Even as this starts to get corrected, it is vital for people and the society to learn and understand that, the problems of today that we have manifested are more within each one of us and unless those are addressed, no matter what and how much we do to help the people around nothing will work- simply because this habit of biting back- snapping at others, has to first be eliminated! The habit of reacting in equal measure to everything that comes ones’ way is the founding premise which has been perhaps the biggest curse coming in form the online space! The whole thinking process of doing “tit for tat” and mimicking to gain popularity, support (read social acceptance) are all but manifestations of the biting back problem! So you may, want to ask, fine so what can be done about it?
Well to begin with, it starts by having some wise self- discipline, say no to gadgets and say yes to people- while at home, when driving, while at the station, while commuting, throw away that screen and start to practise and rehearse the lost art of engaging with people- those chats, discussions, healthy opinions and those closing smiles and hand shakes- well that is what is needed to ensure that we regain our human aspect of the social fabric that we have and once this is done- the tendency to snap back and hit back at people for every opinion they say, every comment they make will be managed to a great extent- and to begin with even you may find how powerful this simple re-engagement trick is! The more people begin to connect and engage with people than gadgets, the lesser will be the instances of wanting to hit back, lash out, react, and comment on things and matters what others say and a better judgement will prevail and sane discernment will be applied to engage in what matters and all that doesn’t hold any value will be ignored or let go! Once this happens, as the brain is freed from the burden of unwarranted hit backs and episodes of mercurial swings- it begins to go back to its creative frame and ushering in a new promise for a better tomorrow for the individual and the society as a whole as more and more people embrace this approach to re-engage with humanity!
The only way to course correct anything, as individuals or as a society is to deep dive within and respond and not react- each time we end up reacting rather than responding we are just preparing for the next show down of who snaps first! and trust me the world has too many offerings around for you to excel at that! The real trick is observing these, know where they are and than ignoring all that crap, keep moving to achieve what you must through minimal conflict and maximum deliberation!
A few final words, no matter how mad we are at the dog, because it barked at us or probably tried to bite us, we never bite it back! This is what is at the foundation of who we are, each time we forget this and end up lashing out at everyone around us and start to bark at everything that is unfolding around- we just end up trying to bite that dog back and doing so we end up becoming more of an animal than being a human!
I leave you here with these thoughts, urging you to wear your smile, light up that warmth and when you have to choose between people and devices- go for people- you may not always be pleased- but you will always learn and that learning is critical to make you wise enough to either write the next book and or have some new context on the screens that you hold so dearly!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article! Until then, stay wise, stay safe and yes, don’t bite the dog back- whatever that dog personifies as, in your life!