I don’t mean to insult you, but you are guilty. You are guilty of being ungrateful. Many small details in our lives are overlooked. Not only that, we don’t realize how fortunate we truly are. Everything we consume, everything we make use of and all the privileges we enjoy are the fruits of people’s labor. Take for example – I was eating chicken, rice and peas a few days ago. I slowed my chewing for a brief period, and I pondered in silence.
I thought about where the food came
from. I deduced that people would have to harvest the rice, process it, sell it
and then somebody would have to cook it. The only thing I did was consume it,
and, quite frankly, it was pleasurable. The same process would have to be done
for the peas. As for the chicken? Hmph. The bird would have to be raised from a
chick and taken care of for 12 weeks until it is slaughtered. Entertaining
these thoughts made me realize how much work is put into the things I consume.
Even the seemingly small pleasures such as information accessibility.
When Dr. Esprit broached the subject
of “Digital Humanities” to the Create interns, I was quite reluctant to believe
that there was an entire academic discipline dedicated solely to putting
information on the internet. However, I was dumbfounded when I delved into what
these cyber-magicians actually do.
Digital humanists do much more than
disseminate information on the internet. As a matter of fact, according to
nextconf.eu, “They use technology
to redefine the way people achieve their goals and enable people to achieve
things not previously possible.” They employ databases, online events, digital
3D models and knowledge sites to empower people. Digital humanists may be a
part of massive projects such as Wikipedia or much smaller projects such as the
Salman Rushdie Archive.
Permit me to share my views on technology. From a college student’s perspective, technology is great. It enables us to get information on billions of topics. It makes our day-to-day activities much more efficient and, lastly, it connects people in a plethora of ways. Despite there being obvious benefits to using technology, my economics lecturer always exemplified the principle that everything we do has an opportunity cost – the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Don’t be fooled. Using technology is no anomaly.
From my personal experiences, I have found that using technology dampens my creativity and retards my work ethic because everything has been made so ‘easy’. “Why do this when somebody else has already done it and I can just mimic their actions?” This question does sounds silly, I agree. However, I ask this question to myself quite often and I’m sure I’m not the only practitioner of this habit.
Rewind your thinking back to my chicken, rice and peas analogy. What if we all grew rice and raised chickens? World hunger would be a thing of the past. Of course, it is highly unreasonable for all of us to be farmers. However, the principle applies to knowledge. What if we produced knowledge rather than merely consuming it? Imagine how much more information would be available to us if every person who had internet access was committed to sharing information with each other. Whether we get the information from an 80-year-old book, or a personal experience or even a documented conversation with a knowledgeable person, we could be sharing it. I learnt from a document published by Rafael Alvarado that – something as simple as mapping locations with Historical significance on Google Maps could assist thousands of people with their own research and self-advancement.