Quid pro quo #3

Hello Maddy,
I hope you’re alright. I’m sorry that it took me so long to reply. I promise to answer faster next time.

To what extent do you agree or disagree that technology has great influence in shaping people’s ideas?
Technology is all around us these days, there’s no denying it. One can hardly walk the streets without coming across people talking on their mobile phones or sending messages, e-mails etc.
Before I go more into detail, however, let me define “idea” to avoid any misunderstandings throughout the text. “Idea” is not only what comes to your mind when thinking about a problem. It can also be a certain image of something or an opinion. Throughout the text I will try to see “idea” from these different angles. In order to not lose myself in the broad field of technology I’m going to focus on the internet as one of today’s most outstanding technologies.

When you enter a lecture hall at university you will see approximately 80-90 % of the students taking notes on their laptops, i.e. if they’re not surfing on the internet or chatting on Facebook. Anyway, they are not using pen and paper. Well, that’s how it is at German universities but I guess it isn’t different in the US, is it?
So, with all the technology around we’ve become kind of dependent on it (and some have even become addicted). Let’s first have a look at our dependency.
Universities have digitized a great deal of their issues. When I applied for university in 2008 I had to do it online. The only thing I did in person was enrolling after I was accepted. The rest was done on an online basis again and that hasn’t changed. You have to register for courses and exams online. The power point presentations of the lectures can only be found online and so can all the learning materials. Practically everything can be done online. There are even some lectures that are recorded and posted online so no one has to be physically present in that lecture. So you can imagine that if your internet doesn’t work for just one day you might miss a great deal of what’s going on.

A second example would be politics or rather political ideology. While in school you’ll hear about gangs that exist all around the world. You’ll hear about the bad things they do but then things might become quite different. One of your friends reads about Gang X on the internet (Gang X is a gang I invented for the purpose of answering your question. Should it really exist then its pure coincidence). Of course the first pages are encyclopedic articles, pages of Anti-Gang-X organisations or newspaper articles. But somewhere, not even on the second page of the search results, there is a link to the homepage of that gang. Now that your friend knows one side of the coin he wants to get to know the other as well.
After some time the ideas, which until then lingered somewhere in his subconscious, will surface. All it needs is a trigger and for some people they are easy to find. So now this friend of yours, who’s been a nice guy so far, blurts out what he’s read on the homepage of Gang X, e.g. a defamatory statement against a foreigner. If he doesn’t start rethinking he’ll sink deeper and deeper into an ideology that is no good. Of course I don’t consider any of your friends to be like this. I just used “your” and “you” because I wanted to avoid the use of “one” and “one’s” which I find quite impersonal. And believe me, German can be quite an impersonal language.

So, you see that technology, in this case the internet, can shape our ideas to a great extent. TV can do the same with all its advertisements and shopping programs. Even the Discovery Channel can influence our ideas of certain things. I think there are few ideas being shaped without technology these days. Of course you can read a lot of books shaping your ideas about certain topics but with the internet only a handful of people do so.

Well, that’s it. I hope I didn’t lose myself in my explanations. I’d very much appreciate your comment 🙂

Last but not least here’s my question for you: What are your hobbies and what do you like most about them?


Quid pro quo #2

Hello Maddy,

thanks for your answer to my question. I hope you received my feedback/thoughts in your comment box under your post. So, now it’s my turn to answer a question again and I won’t beat around the bush for too long.

What is our life purpose and why were we born in the first place?

To be honest those are no easy questions, however, I’ll try my best. I am going to answer each part of the question seperately and in the end I’ll draw a conclusion by linking my answers.

Why were we born in the first place?
To give you an answer of striking simplicity: Our parents wanted us to be born. We are a wish come true. Of course I was thinking about different answers (ranging from God’s Will to destiny) but why not, in this case, take the most obvious answer? Why not see ourselves as the tiny miracles mankind can create? I’m afraid there is nothing more I can say.

What is our life purpose?
“A child will be born tomorrow
As open as an empty cup
And we’ll fill it with hope and sorrow
The very things that messed us up.”
(Mike & the Mechanics – Someone always hates someone)

The first three lines (I added the fourth simply to complete the rhyme) hold a lot of truth. As soon as we’re born we’re under a lot of influences, mostly from our parents. The little cup (our mind) is being filled. When we get older the cup gets bigger and is filled more and more. In order to not run over we have to filter certain things so that all that remains in our minds are the things we deem necessary. Of course there are certain things we can’t get rid of that linger somewhere in the backs of our minds. Anyway, once we start to filter things we begin to create goals. Some are temporary and some last until we die. However, everyone creates their own goals. Well, there might be standardized goals, i.e. ask three people what they want to reach in their lives and I’m pretty sure they’ll mention having a family and a decent job. However, the motivation for these goals might differ. One might want to have a family because he’s lonely while another one always thinks having a wife and children part of a perfect life.
So, I’d say our life purpose is to achieve the goals we set for ourselves, it’s the motivation that makes us go on even if we suffer a heavy setback.

Considering that having a family is a goal that many people want to achieve in their lives we can be pretty sure that once we were this goal, namely, when our parents wished for a child. Their motivations might have been quite different but finally they all reached their goal. Now, the older we get the more we take our lives into our hands, thus creating our own goals out of our own motivations. While we strive to reach our goals, while we are motivated to do something with our lives we find our life purposes. We find the things that make our lives worth living.

I hope my answers make sense and my text is at least a bit coherent. Please let me know what you think 🙂

Last but not least here is my question for you: Do you think that with all the technical means of communication (facebook, smartphones etc.) people might “unlearn” to talk to each other in person?