I still remember myself innocently typing “Who is the Tree man of India?” into the Google search engine in response to a questionnaire handed out at school. Like many of my time, I too have become the smart teen who asks from the Smartest himself.
The productivity and widespread publicity of Internet created a wave of delight and relief for millions of school-going children. Where our parents would bend over thick encyclopaedias in the stuffy library, we had Google at our disposal. Wikipedia became my best friend during my homework hour.
My brother, who had been studying in Singapore at that time, brought the winds of modern technology to our house. I was chided for not using the internet ‘sufficiently’. I strived harder and dug deeper. To be able to find something on Google all by yourself had become ‘trendy’ at school.
As I came to high school, I missed my virtual friend. With no social sciences and core sciences being the sole subjects, I felt nostalgic on remembering the good old easy times. With complex algebra and Euler’s postulates surrounding me, I was already messed up enough to venture into deeper depths. Google could not solve the complex questions for me. Those two years were a hell of a ride.
College became the eye opener for me. We were drummed by our seniors from the very first day “Internet is your best friend here”. My mistake was that I felt I had extracted all I could from Google. But, lo and behold, I saw my fellow peers deftly tapping “College life learning” into Google, through the calculus class, just a week into college. They had taken their seniors’ advice all too seriously. Googling life’s complexities became the new cool. I too joined this festival of Googling. I too learned the feted skill of Googling to keep up. You guessed it. I even tried searching ‘Life keeping up’.
Now that I have mastered this skill too I intend to move on. But no. This time, I won’t google ‘ambitions college life’. I have reached tipping point and I am fortunate enough to halt my race with the world.
It is worth pondering over that in an age where everyone wishes to be self-reliant and independent, one likes doing work solo. For solo work carries more recognition. This is one step towards compartmentalization and retreating into the shell of greed.
Our interaction with the world has become minimal and fellow humans have simply been reduced to tools for access to fun and happiness. We think twice before asking any question. What if my question is trivial? We are told to be independent but also work smartly. These two ideas are notoriously at odds with one another. I won’t ask the guy next room (problem solved in 2 minutes) but search for the needle in the haystack on Google to be independent (problem solved in 30 minutes). In an attempt to produce a know-it-all image we have shirked human feelings.
The surreal beauty of an intellectual discussion has been lost. Emotions are slashed out as detractors from truth. We fail to understand our elders’ struggles for we have not heard them. How can we feel the bitterness of war raging in the eyes of the stoic survivor? How can we learn from the experiences of our parents expressed through the highs and lows of their voice? We cannot. The solution is not Herculean. We need only to have patience to listen. The emotion ensconced in truth completes the solution.
Let us not become repositories of information. Let us shower the respect Google deserves and leave it at that. There is no harm in acknowledging Google as the GOAT in IQ and the WOAT in EQ (for those unaware of GOAT/WOAT –you can either discuss it over lunch or as always; Google it.)