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The World of today, Sri Lanka tomorrow

| by Victor Cherubim

(September 22, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I was on a double decker when two young ladies got on and sat opposite me.

Though it’s impossible to guess ages these days, their skirts gave the age away, as they wore it a lot above the Plimsoll line and their feet were covered with what looked like Roman legionaries sandals with wafer thin soles. It was a cold and damp day in central London, No one talk when riding in under or over ground trains or buses. It is customary that no one smiles either. To be accepted and be “cool “at the same time, one must wear a straight jacket and/or wear a poker face and be expressionless, in public.

Technology is man’s slave, but it can easily become the master of man. This revolution can only come about by man resigning his free thinking to machine intelligence. What then is wrong about machine intelligence?
Each one of them had one of their i-Pod mobile phones, with a large shoulder fashion accessory bag. However, with limited time at home before work to tidy themselves up, the makeup bag and the mascara and blush was not on show, Throughout the journey they hardly spoke to each other, but all the time tapping text messages and sending them possibly to each other. A ping signalled a reply as both of them were obviously friends but they seemed more in touch with their varied universes than with each other.

It is safe to say that i-Pod and the i-Pad and my “Blackberry” have truly revolutionised the way we use technology. Tailored specially for a mobile lifestyle as well as a mobile operating system, the i-Pad heart beats from an eco system of apps. The small little downloadable applications have not only changed the way we use technology, but have also transformed the world of information, advertising and marketing.

How do this new technology and the daily routines of a student, a businessman or even a visually impaired person start to impact not only in their personal lives but also in their working lives?

Let me introduce you to my story. As the pace of life gets intense, unlike other aged persons, I am in my absolute element. Intensity is what I thrive on. It is because I’m never happier than when I feel that my energy and effort is given a strong sense of purpose and that I can prove to the wide world, what makes me tick.

I am the proverbial human dynamo and I like to be on top of my game. But I know too, that as usual when energy is running high there is greater risk of blowing a fuse. So I am prepared to stop the pace, as I begin to feel my concentration is slipping and sliding. I guess, I have an uncanny ability to tap into a hidden reserve of energy. I learned this when I studied bioenergetics in my Counselling Diploma, well past my retirement and it has come in good stead. But even this has its limits. Of course, I can drop to a lower gear; otherwise there may be a risk of either breaking a leg or bursting a gut, which gets me nowhere.

Bottling happiness is another trait which is essential to survive the turbulence of change. Change is normal, change is good, but it has a price to pay. Everybody attributes success to what others think of them, or so it seems. For me, success is up to what I think of myself. It is up to me to make my success. The strategy of robbing one’s identity during times of chaos is to take over the controls of an individual’s life surreptitiously, at best without their knowledge, at worst by making them feel easy. This technique is called “Thought Police.”

Call it identity theft; call it by any other name. This phenomenon is noticeable when you feel intuitively that everything else seems unnatural or alien to you and when the controls have been made out of action, when you feel manipulated, when you feel your thoughts are monitored and that someone else is living your life in your body, then you are on auto-pilot. Before you hit this stage you need to take the rudder. When, in some ways you get the feel that you need to hit the reset button and restore the defaults, in order to regain control, and then you find you control your success. To support your plans, it may be necessary to take it slowly but surely to marshal any energy and put aces up your sleeve, at this stage you instinctively know it will not be too long before you get the green light to pursue the success you rightly deserve.

Technology is man’s slave, but it can easily become the master of man. This revolution can only come about by man resigning his free thinking to machine intelligence. What then is wrong about machine intelligence?

Like the gals in the bus forgetting who they are and become engrossed by the adaptability of machines, the world of tomorrow in Sri Lanka can be a world of make belief. With every new innovation, we are in effect sacrificing our freedom of thought, word and action. There is nothing base in revolutionising our world through the medium of modern, miniature mobile technology, so long as we simultaneously take steps to preserve and conserve our habitat, our environment, our individuality and our pristine traditions of our island. The mobile phone and its gadgetry can well ensnarl us to forget ourselves and who we are as a people, our culture, our traditions and turn us into auto pilot bystanders, when the “thought police, “for that matter even our mobiles, can manipulate us and our behaviour in the name of progress.

For us in Sri Lanka, we may have to revolutionise our ways of life and our infrastructure for the sake of development and progress, but not at the expense of, or by an alien culture, where we lose our identity, our heritage, even our ayurvedic “vedamathaya” and our ways of behaviour.

Sri Lanka irrigation is one clear case in point, the ingenuity of our people, which dates back from the Third Century and is acknowledged as a “hydraulic civilisation” that sustained sufficiency in our staple diet rice. Let’s not trade it for something we don’t want or do not know.

Our success is what has been tried and tested over centuries.

The writer, Freelance Journalist. He can be reached at victorcherubim@aol.com 

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