The entire world is just one measly click away. Isn’t that remarkable? Anything we want to know, any place we want to see, we just type it in and BAM! There it is, with all its glorious details. I doubt a worse feat could have been achieved by mankind had we tried harder.
JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series once said, “The internet has been a boon and a curse”. The internet took humanity to peaks we had never thought we’d reach. With so much information in our hands, every individual should be soaring through the skies; yet we remain firmly glued to the ground. Why? We should all be little Da Vinci’s, making discoveries left, right and centre! But we are not – and there is one simple answer: information is not the same as knowledge.
It’s not knowledge that is spreading through the internet, it is information which is being used, and that too, on a temporary basis only. What we find one click away is only information: facts that we read and understand but do not retain.
Before the advent of the cyber world, if someone wanted to find out about a country they wished to visit, they went to libraries and book stores; they read travel guides and researched each and every detail about the country. They went out and saw the world, questioned it, tried to understand it. They never Googled it, trying to consume all sorts of details in a span of 15 minutes.
Indeed, reading the abstract of a research paper to cite it is not enough. Online research – even if you use online books, is not enough. You need to go out. Your physical self needs to experience the real world, the knowledge. There should be immersion. A glance at the written word through a screen is not enough.
The internet is profoundly lacking when it comes to catering to the growth of human beings. It does nothing for the human intellect or the human spirit; all it does is provide us with numerous types of information. Very few might realise it, but this helpful tool that we call the internet is a curse in several ways. All that the internet has ever done is stagnate the mind, and dull the soul. And I think it’s about time we stopped relying on it.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.
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