Monday, December 25, 2017

19. Skill Depletion Schemes!

There were times when things were difficult. You had to be alert, you had to exercise the muscles in your body and the cells in your brain more.  You had to "suffer" physical labor. You need to remember things.

Not any more. Automation has ensured that you can cook, wash your clothes and do other household chores, sitting on a sinking cushion, munching potato chips and watching the smart TV, which was once called the idiot box.

Once you have completed your studies, you don't have to remember anything. Your mobile phone will tell you whatever you need to know. If you have to visit a place, you need not know the route. The GPS will guide you. Very soon, you won't even have to drive. Just sit into the self driven car, set the GPS and relax. The car will take you to where you want to go. Perhaps the self driven cars will also be programmed to randomly meet with some accidents so that things would look normal!

Automation is good. Improvement in communication facilities is advantageous. But the way these developments have made us lose our innate skills is tragic. We have become too lazy even to move our body. To compensate for the decline in physical activities, we flock to gyms to exercise and keep us fit.

It is the fast deterioration of our mental skills that is most alarming. Earlier, when we had to know a phone number before dialing it, we would remember at least a few important telephone numbers. Not any more. Many of us may not even remember the phone numbers of our families. What is the need for this? We have our personal assistant, our "cellmate" who does the remembering for us.

There is also another area in which we are allowing our natural skills to wear away. This area is not even noticed by many of us. Now we don't have to be careful about anything. There was a time, when a student would have used at the most 2 fountain pens during his entire secondary school studies. Losing a pen was shameful, dreadful and tragic. But now we can afford to use one pen everyday! I can safely forget to take my pen while going to my workplace and can buy one at a pawn shop near my office. During yesteryears,  buying a watch was a once in a lifetime event. A watch after being use for 40 or 50 years by a person would pass on to his son after his death. Today, if a person keeps a watch for 2 years, it would be an exceptional record.

Today, you can lose your certificates of education and get duplicates. The only inconvenience would be spending some time and money. You don't have to be wary of dropping your spectacles and breaking them. They come in unbreakable plastic and can also be scratch proof. There are guards to protect your mobile phone. All these are good if only they are not making us abandon our sense of being careful, cautious, prudent and vigilant.

If we  go back in time, we will find that man has been building up his skills painstakingly over several thousand years. Even primitive skills like hunting for food, running away from danger, climbing up on trees for safety, making clothes to cover our body, building a house for protecting ourselves from rains and storms, learning to use fire for cooking, learning to make useful things from the materials available on earth, inventing the wheel and building a cart and so on  had been developed after a lot of efforts, struggles and experimentation.

All these skills have been improved upon over several hundred generations and transferred to us genetically. And we are frittering them away without realizing how bad this is going to be for us and our coming generations. While the government has been running a skills development program, we have been launching our own skills depletion schemes!

Let us make use of our technology but let us also realize the power of the skills we were gifted with  when we were born and make some efforts to retain these skills.

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