Sunday, June 17, 2012


I recall over a dinner conversation with my nephew and niece the topic on how "primeval" the educational methods used in school while we were growing up.

Today's youth have the luxury of the power of knowledge at their fingertips. Nothing bad about that if you're looking at it from the point of view of the future.

Come to think of it, I recall the times that we had Library Science as a subject (and as a course to some!). Technology just evaporated the role of librarians and sent this dying breed into exile earlier than they would have thought. I recall those times when I'd practically spend 3-4 hours in the library on school days. Those vacant periods would be spent pouring through the hundreds of references for our assignment.

Gone are those days when students would have to trek to the libraries in order to stay updated or do their assignments. With the advent of the iPad, iBooks, iLibrary, and Kindle, you could download, google, search, surf and even publish information on the world wide web.

There's the good and the bad side of this technological breakthrough. Even the "oldies" like I, get to enjoy the value of information technology. No more having to queue for movie tickets, no more having to waste time paying researchers to dig up data, no more having to subscribe to the Yellow Pages (hence saving more trees), no more having to do business over the counter, no more having to spend hundreds of pesos just to talk to friends and relatives in other countries (soon we can talk to the Martians as well), no more having to be at the airport gazillion hours to get good seats as I can check in online, no more having to go to Timbuktu to get your take out as you can order online, no more having to go to the mall to buy clothes or stuff...YESSSS...we can all be turds and just sit back at our computer desks and type in wild abandon what we want - so we can get it without having to move from point A to point B.

And there's the rub.

Technology has created the monster called complacency and its sister obesity.

Students simply copy and paste information and pass it as their work or assignments. People have forgotten to acknowledge references and pass it as their own. The devil called plagiarism reels an ugly horn - from kindergarten to the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

People today want to take the shortcut. We now have more time to do other things. Like - uhmmm...what? Get into a third or fourth job? Go on porn sites? Pick a boyfriend or girlfriend through the net?

Now that we have more time and our kids have more time in their hands, there's more time for iPad and PSP games. And the kids and youth of today are so different. They're so materialistic. Once upon a time, many of the kids enjoyed little Barbies and Lego. Today, they've got to have an iPad or Galaxy. No money to get their kids immunized or brought to the hospital when they are sick but they have money to get the latest gadgets. And it's not simply because they want to keep up with technology. It's more out of envy.

The "shortcut" mentality has created a culture of attention deficit disorder in many. Many prefer that you cut the chase and go directly to what's needed. I go to Sunday services and see how many - young and old alike - feel so uneasy when the priest gives a longer sermon than usual. They bring out their iPhones to check on messages, or go out of the mass service to make a call or answer calls. There's this teenager who sits in front of us each Sunday mass who can't wait to get mass over and while in church dazingly googles through his Blackberry and his parents who are seated beside him don't even tell him or teach him the propriety of texting during church services. It's like a once a week religious affair with God. If you can't make your kids appreciate even the little time to thank God or say a little prayer to Him, well just leave your kids at home playing with their gadgets and toys! Sheesh!!!

We're in a hurry these days. A million bucks by the age of 21. A career by 25. A house and lot by 27. A company by 30. A king by 35.

Perhaps technology has pushed us to this level of looking at life with a shortcut. It would be sad that at our deathbeds, we would have to rewind quickly the journey we had and find it empty. Or will our exit in this world be a shortcut too?

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