The click that turned us into rats…

After many days I made plans to spend an evening around creativity, I wanted to walk around the Kala Ghoda festival to soak in something that was visually appealing and I hoped to add a bit of shopping.

The landmark curve in the road from flora fountain to Colaba never disappoints and this time too it had all the eclectic colours and despite the crowd it seemed to click….but that was the biggest problem.

“the CLiCK”. Everyone has something to click, unlimited storage, an insatiable desire to upload/share each and every one of the clicks, free medium and innumerable responses to each click and somewhere I started to resent the idea. It seems that as a species we have become completely dependent on the need to have people, especially on social networks, ‘like’ what we just now said or did to claimed to have said or done. I say claimed to have said or done because most of the content is repeated and instead of helping people get creative, the online life has made every one a Master in Plagiarism. The availability of space and freedom of expression has generated little freshness and a lot of copy+paste.

Whats disturbing is that even 4 yr olds held i pads to click their moms holding the new or even the old table mats, much to the father’s joy who believes that his child is really smart because he himself did not know how to use and I pad till he was 30! The concept of parenting lost its way in the happiness of learning how to use a gadget (running ur finger along or pushing a button). Friendships too seem to have become vaguely entwined by how witty a person’s status is or how HAWT (correct spellings are hot) a profile picture is. I wonder how do the present age psychologist accept these vague patterns which make Maslow’s pyramid stand on its head, while some 30-year-old tags his nursery class mates and shares the video titled – “old pyramid tilts and crushes the understanding of human motivation ROFL!”

Coffee shops, Airports, waiting area have become depressing because the people sharing a space no longer say hi or smile or even ask for direction or anything they google it. Is it me or are there too many people who hardly speak to those sitting to standing next to each there for hours  motionless, barely making any human contact sitting and staring and going tap tap tap and their phone/gadget. Grown men open their laptops in the waiting lounges urgently and play the latest version of their fav bloody video game instead of anything else, checking out women or having food or resting are all not a priority. Some how the need to communicate and stay in touch via the satellite and social network has beaten the real person to person communication and created a new image of mankind where people walk, eat and work with wires growing out of their ears and screens floating at their fingers .tap, tap, tap

An article I Read gave me an insight to another explanation that we are rats! no not nuts, rats those rats which were used by Skinner and perhaps not to far from the salivating dog that Pavlov . { I thought I must hyperlinke the names of the greatest behavioural psychologist because they are not on Facebook, I mean, not popular}

“Responding to an email, text message or new Facebook post in response to vibration or sound is remarkably similar to the behavior of those fixated rodents that unnerved me so long ago. Our compulsion to do this, like the compulsion of Skinner’s rats, is fueled by the fact that it is:

  • Easy. If the only way you could read an email was to run a mile first, the urge would quickly die. Human beings constantly do subconscious effort/reward calculations. Tapping a screen is the easiest of physical tasks.
  • Intermittently rewarding. Most emails are boring, most texts mundane, most Facebook updates trivial. But just enough of these electronic media experiences are just rewarding enough at a frequency that is just random enough that the small effort of repeatedly tapping the screen nearly always seems worth it.”

The theory of Rats makes me wonder how did we become so restrictive in choices that the microscopic moment of motivation gratification that happens with a like or lol precedes talking to some one who might be sitting with you for hours, imagine the countless real life incidents of genuine joy and hilarity that can happen outside of videos of kittens and puppies!

While it is tough to accept that humans can do nothing more than what rats did, it has brought about a superficial notion of happiness and fulfillment and has taken away the joy of something as simple as enjoying a festival or a gathering unless it is broadcasted/published/shared or tweeted. Because you enjoyed you ice creme or your vacation or you wedding or child’s birth only as long as you the 800 people we are friends with that are on our friend’s list see and like us having fun.


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