Another one of my articles, written for the Insiter in April last year.
The night I almost lost my life.
Eva Gueorguieva on 24 April, 2016
It is Tuesday night. I had quite an eventful and productive day.
My newest passion is technology debates. I have been reading up and doing a lot of research on the topic for the past few weeks so I am, of course, particularly excited to attend a lecture that focuses exactly on that subject. A discussion emerges in class. I stay silent and just observe, as everyone keeps saying that even if they wanted to, they could not do as well without their phones, computers, ipods, etc. However, eventually, the teacher turns up to me and asks for my opinion. And this is where it all started …
I join the class debate and state a very extreme opinion. We do not depend on technology. It is a matter of choice. I have just read “Amusing ourselves to death” by Neal Postman and I am extremely certain that I do not classify as one of ‘those people’ who spend their lives on their phones and laptops. I am not on Facebook 24/7, and I do not post pictures on Instagram every five seconds. So there I am, arguing that there is still some hope for us, the young men and women of this world. That we do know how to communicate and maintain actual relationships. That we do have lives outside our computers and mobile phones. That we still know how to be human and how not to depend on technology. And then it happened.
My best friend and I are having dinner together, watching a show on YouTube and enjoying a glass of wine after a busy day. She says something, I laugh, and before I even realize it I accidentally knock over my glass and the wine spills on my laptop.
First comes the shock. Then comes the horror. Last comes the realization.
If something happens to this laptop my life is over.
About a second and a half later we are both leaning over the sink, trying to make sure that the computer is dry (which of course it was not). About twenty seconds after that, we were sitting on the floor with screwdrivers in our hands, trying to open it up and blow-dry the insides before the wine damages the hard drive of my laptop.
Fast forward to a few hours later … I am in bed, but I cannot sleep. My laptop (well, the insides of my laptop) are sitting on my desk, staring at me sadly. I still cannot get over the fact that I may have just lost everything I own, and that is not even an exaggeration. Starting off with music and pictures, moving through all different kinds of files, websites, accounts and books, and fishing off with all my university lectures, assignments and notes … Everything I own is on that computer. My entire life. Everything I have ever done and even every conversation I have ever had.
The irony. Just a few hours ago I was passionately arguing that technology has not taken control over our lives. That we certainly do not depend on it. That we could do just as well without it.
Yet there I was, lying in bed, realizing that my entire life, in the form of word files, pdfs, powerpoints, jpegs and mp3s, was on that machine.
And this when it hit me. We are, in fact, dependent on technology. We rely on it; we expect it to be everything we need. We use it for communication, entertainment, information, and even knowledge. We keep our lives sorted out in different folders. We keep our memories on our laptops and our phones. We trust them more than we trust our own families and friends. We expect the machines to be there for us, yet we do not expect the people around us to do the same thing. We expect the machines to give us knowledge, yet we do not expect that from our books and even our own experiences. We expect the machines to entertain us, yet we have no idea how to keep ourselves busy even for a minute if left alone.
Frankly, I find that quite ridiculous and even more pathetic. And I am sure that I could do better as a human being. So could everybody else.
How did we get to the point where we are not even sure if something happened if we don’t see a Facebook update, a twitter post, or an Instagram picture? How did we get to the point where we find communication easier when the person on the other end is not in front of us? How did we get to the point where we found it much less difficult to be ourselves whilst hiding behind a screen?
Is it really true that we are now so brainwashed by the internet, by television, by our own devices, that we cannot even imagine being offline for more than a minute? Is it really true that we let ourselves depend on … machines? Is it really true that we let such trivialities control our minds and lives? Are we genuinely failing as human beings? Because let me tell you one thing … If the answers for the questions above are all ‘yes’, then I do believe we are ultimately failing. Failing to be together, failing to develop, failing to be happy.
After a very long, sleepless night, I got out of bed and with my best friend’s help (who, apparently, went to IKEA school instead of kindergarten) put my laptop back together.
None of my data was damaged. It is now working perfectly fine.