The Dawn of Isolation: The Power in a Grain of Sand by Rohini Ranjan SignUp
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The Dawn of Isolation:
The Power in a Grain of Sand
by Rohini Ranjan Bookmark and Share
 

A new revolution has spread like wildfire across the face of the ever-shrinking globe that we call our home. All: young and old, men and women, students and teachers, workers and unemployed, homemakers and yuppy, seem to have fallen under the spell cast by this bewitching magus that holds captive so many souls. In what amounts to a very short period in time, little shrines of this new deity have been established in many homes, of high and low, far and wide. At frequent intervals through the day and night (sometimes barely breaking off for attending to other aspects of their lives) the devotees sit glued in their asanas in rapt meditation facing the hallowed altars, as the vibrant new glow - promising freedom from all confining boundaries - bathes their faces and lights up their weary but devoted beatific eyes in pulses of energy emanating from the shrine.

What once required long stretches of time to accomplish, began to move in moments. "A blink of the eye" was not adequate any longer to serve as a short enough 'unit of time' bringing on the need for creating newer and smaller units of time, mankind had never imagined before. As a crystallized symbol of the revolution, the shiny emblems of progress, of accomplishment, adorned in ever-evolving and such eye-catching forms became the norm of the day.

It is not as if all this happened overnight! Slowly and sometimes even stealthily, the momentum had been building up, as each little concrete grain of sand set with painstaking care in its metal framework, propelled the abstract concept of it all towards its present tangible nay colossal culmination, step by step, bit by bit, grain by grain. 

First there were the pioneers: brave soldiers, dedicated, adventurous, focused on a narrow goal, setting out merely to prove that it could be done, wandering into uncharted territories. One must concede that ultimately they did very well, indeed! 

Those long and lonely nights when after their back-breaking nine-to-five jobs, they would join, though physically miles apart, in single-minded prayer. Joined tenaciously by a common purpose, at first it seemed that all they wanted was to communicate, to meet others of like minds and purpose, to revel in solidarity, to make sure that all of their hard work does not get wiped out of existence by some madman's fleeting but draconian whim, but rather to achieve and then keep it all secure permanently! For this they felt the need for building a structure that would not depend on merely one or two weight-bearing pillars erected on some foundation. They needed a strong fortress! Employing clever strategy, they placed many enforcements that would keep their fortress functional, if not structurally intact, in dire moments following attack and destruction, were these to ever occur. They worked tirelessly and even feverishly towards this goal.

Building and maintaining temples and shrines is hard work, but such was their religious zeal and in those that followed them (the second generation of devotees who inherited with greedy acceptance this labor of love to carry it even further in ever widening circles through setting up tiny and big satellite groups); it ensured that the movement shall never die.

Such a huge process, such a huge phenomenon could not have spawned from the imagination and machinations of those suffering from tubular vision, nor could it have shaped itself into an overwhelming activity had there not been perhaps the aiding hand of the gods themselves behind all of this. Almost as a sign of their divine appeasement, blessings began to shower upon the courage, dedication and relentless pursuit shown by the devoted worshippers and builders of this new religion - miracles began to take place all around. 

What once required long stretches of time to accomplish, began to move in moments. "A blink of the eye" was not adequate any longer to serve as a short enough 'unit of time' bringing on the need for creating newer and smaller units of time, mankind had never imagined before. As a crystallized symbol of the revolution, the shiny emblems of progress, of accomplishment, adorned in ever-evolving and such eye-catching forms became the norm of the day. Wizened and weary travelers on this grand path while visibly aglow in praise of the grand culmination of what they had started long ago, did experience moments of nostalgia, as they remembered those days when it all began. The religion now had a history; it had matured over time.

The loftiest spiritual experience - as it grows and becomes increasingly commonplace can lose some of its grace, charm, appeal; it can lose also some of its intrinsic values and original purpose. As they spread, religions tend to acquire a mundane, even commercial mask. At times one wonders if something vital has been lost, from the original vision, in the name of progress and popularizing; even worse, did it replace something that was essential, even crucial, and that defined the purpose for human beings walking on this beautiful planet and sharing its bounties.

The home computer revolution (religion?) and the Internet reality that seems to have perfused our lives and has taken over a fair share of our time and resources, was originally created as ARPANET to provide and preserve vital information of strategic and academic importance, and to protect and keep it alive and strong through storing and sharing, through replenishing it with new information, through reducing redundancies, through eliminating that which cannot be validated, through building networks of communication, and through promoting connectivity that could bring strangers from great distances near without having to travel and to create a true global community. 

Do we have only the highest quality information out there in the vast repositories of the cyber-library that can be trustfully accessed and utilized? Are we, and what is more important, are our youth embracing the idea of electronic networking; at the cost of ignoring or even avoiding the flesh and blood, face to face, networking that had always been available to them in the community where they live? Has the church made of sand (silicon), metal (copper) and plastic (man-made artificial molecules) already turned or at least threatens to turn perceived reality into a chamber of isolation that shuts other humans and everything that has kept them human over eons, out?

27-Jul-2000
More by :  Rohini Ranjan
 
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