Are we better off with technology?
Is his journey through this life any less valuable or bring any less joy because he does not have technology (man from Papua, one of the least developed provinces of Indonesia)?
Imagine a remote village in a small part of a foreign country. The people are deeply rooted in their culture and traditions. They do not have any of the luxuries of modern society, nor do they know of them. They live in simple huts and cook in clay pots over an open fire. They hunt, grow, and barter for everything they need. Do you think these people would be just as happy as everyone else in the world?
What if one of the young adults from the remote village travels to a larger city. They see machinery creating products at a rapid rate. They see a tv broadcasting the national news for the first time. They also interact with a person who has a smartphone. Because of these simple exposures, that individual will not return to the village as the same person who left. They will never look at their day-to-day living the same.
Events such as these are occurring all around the world and I am learning first hand how technology influences the Indonesian culture and way of life. Because of technology, their society is not as it was 20 yrs ago. Indonesians are noticing that many of their most sacred and historical traditions are being diluted. Some Indonesians are expressing fear because young adults are heading to cities such as Jakarta and have no interest in returning to their small villages. The foundations of much of their unique culture remains in the hands of their elders who are dying. As a result, their traditions are changing or may not exist 20 or more years from now.
Many of the school systems in Jakarta still have the values that most American teachers dream of. Here, students and parents show teachers the upmost respect. Teachers are addressed as bapak or ubi, the equalivent of sir and madam. Each morning, students greet their teacher with a kiss on the hand and the student then places the teacher’s hand to their forehead to adorn them with reverence. Students do not misbehave in class. They do not interrupt the teacher while he or she is talking. It is an insult to correct the teacher if a mistake is made. But, as students are gaining more access to technology, even the school traditions are slowing fading. One of the principals of a Muslim school here in Jakarta has had students ask if they can be like Lady Gaga when they grow up.
Many see influences such as these as the evils of technology, mostly originating from Western Civilizations. On the other hand, they also recognize that it is good for communities to have a tool that allows them to have a two-way conversation with the rest of the world. Access to technology has allowed Americans to learn more about Indonesia other than the fact that President Obama lived there. It allows Indonesians to know there is more to America than Hollywood and wars. But we have to ask, at what point does the influence of technology overshadow what’s really important in life: family, friends, traditions, quality time, and personal growth? At what point is technology such a necessity that any village without is still considered to be living in the dark ages? And then you have to ask yourself, is technology really needed? If your answer is no, I challenge you to go 24 hours without using it and let me know how it goes. 🙂If you enjoyed this article, please use the buttons below to share it with someone else who you think will also enjoy it. Thanks! Follow me: Twitter: @_MissOnAMission Instagram: www.instagram.com/Miss_OnA_Mission Facebook: www.facebook.com/JacquelineYSamuel