This is the Essay submitted by Bhai Zoher Murtaza B Ghadyali, which will surely make an interesting reading and make us all proud of our DEEN.Google CEO Eric Schmidt, in his 2012 commencement address to Boston University, urged the graduating students to designate one of their waking hours every day to being completely free of any communication device at all. Do you see benefits from this, or simply annoyance? How would such a step affect your life? What would you do in such an hour?
Zoher GhadyaliIn my faith, during the ten days of Ashura, my family mourns. We do not watch television, go online, or listen to music. Devoid of all of my normal communication devices, I do not have anything to distract me from my faith. Ashura has always been a deeply spiritual time for me but also a time when I feel disconnected from the world. During Ashura, I paint and play board games with my family. Without Facebook, I actually have to call up my friends and hear their voices as I ask them what they have been up to. Ashura is not only a religious experience for me but a retrospective glance into what life might have been like before the rise of computers and Google, a life that is just as rewarding as the one I live now.
I grew up in the dawn of the computer era and for the most part, I have benefitted from it. I learned how to use Microsoft PowerPoint and Word in middle school. I learned how to draw and paint digitally in my graphic design classes. I am on my laptop daily, absorbing information at a speed unparalleled by anyone before my time.With the rise of computers and the Internet, the world has become a much more connected place. With the Internet, a student here can realize the plight of the disabled in Tanzania and become inspired to travel there and build wheelchairs out of old bicycles. The era of rapid-fire communication has led to increased globalization, a greater understanding of other countries and cultures, and the formation of connections all around the globe. But these benefits come with a price.When we sit behind computers, we have the power of gods in front of us. Everything is a quick Google search away. We can research any topic at any time. We can learn and adapt at faster speeds than ever before. Behind a computer, we are machines of efficiency. Everything can be accessed, everything can be absorbed and synthesized and used to become even more efficient. We feel this drive to work and learn and surf the internet behind a computer. We can see what our friends are up to on Facebook and Twitter. We can use Wikipedia to quickly summarize vast topics that volumes are written about. We can listen to all the music in the world. However, we are denied the journey, the path we normally take to achieve these things.Facebook will never replace the pleasure of going out with a friend you have not seen in a while to catch up over a cup of coffee. In a similar way, the Internet will never capture the journey of looking through an encyclopedia for an obscure lizard species, and the joy of finding it. In our era of communication, anyone can be reached through the internet instantaneously. But the journey to that person is lost. When everything is just a quick Google search away, the thrill of research and the success of finding something you never knew before are tempered.I see the value in spending an hour, or even more than an hour, a day without our communication devices. I see the value in losing the omniscient power these devices give us. Without this constant pressure to be efficient, we can truly embrace our humanity. We can do things we do not need our computers to do. We can create art. We can ask questions that haven’t been answered yet, and come up with ideas that haven’t been blogged about before. We can enjoy the journey this simple, unadulterated humanity takes us on.