In our time we, the modern people, are becoming a lot more interested in things and nonliving objects than whatever is alive and natural. We are turning everything into objects, be it concrete or abstract, by throwing away the liveliness in it; this objectification does not exclude even our friends and family.
Our obsession with machines and gadgets has reached the level where the trees, the rivers, the sky, our friends, families -- none of them can draw our attention any longer like they once did. When at home, after a long day, we now prefer to look at our phones instead of talking to our parents or family members.
Scrolling on social media, looking at pictures and videos of other people -- which hardly represent who those people are -- seems more appealing to us than the living beings that are present just next to us.
When on a tour, the natural sight of the mountain or the sea fails to satisfy us. The pristine beauty of nature cannot prevent us from succumbing to our constant urge to bring out our smartphones or cameras, and spend our precious time taking pictures instead of enjoying the scenery with our own eyes. We choose to see nature through the camera lens.
Our interest is in transforming the beauty of nature into an object called a picture, so that we can show them to others as evidence of our being there. The pictures and videos have become more likely to win our primary attention instead of the subjects of those pictures or videos.
Our enthusiasm for robots knows no limits, and we are researching assiduously so that robots become more humane, ironically; not realizing that this entire process of humanizing robots itself is mechanizing us, humans, and turning us into automatons.
We are trying our best to make robots of other animals as well, although, at the same time, forcing actual living animals -- of blood and flesh, that roamed on this planet for thousands of years -- to go extinct, for instance the tigers. All of these are taking place at the expense of mother nature and all her children, all that lives. Our passion for lifelessness has grown much stronger than our passion for life.
Very recently, Swiss photographer René Robert died a tragic death of hypothermia on a street in Paris; he lay on the street for nine long hours, but nobody cared. People would certainly have noticed if it had been an iPhone 13 Pro Max, perhaps. The modern-day civilized automatons are indifferent to life, but attracted to machines like magnets.
Our children, parents, fiance/fiancee have also become some sort of commodities to us which can be used for consumption in one way or another. One can often see parents boasting about the academic or some other success of their child, comparing them with other children, flaunting how much they love their son or daughter. The entire notion of comparison in terms of better or worse should come into play when one is dealing with some nonliving thing. How can one life be qualitatively better than another?
However, the success of one child can be better or worse than that of another, for that success is measured based on some abstract objects, mostly numerical values. Hence, it is quite clear that those parents are not very interested in their child who is a living being; rather, their concern is for his or her "success" which has no living structure.
If that little child was not so successful, the scenario would have been entirely different; the parents wouldn’t have anything to show off about their child to others, as they didn’t love him or her for who he or she is. The subject of their love is not their child, as is expected; rather his or her so-called lifeless success.
We have transformed everyone and everything into some sort of instrument with properties that have use-value. Here, that child is an instrument to gain vague status.
We human beings no longer present ourselves for who we are, rather what clothes we put on, what cars we ride, our bank balance, the apartments we live in, the restaurants we dine in, the universities we went to, the grades we have achieved -- all these get prioritized at our expense. The objectification or the commodification has no end in sight.
Ratnadeep Toorja is a software programmer by profession, and musician and writer by passion.
Powered by Froala Editor