We are at the threshold of a New Year 2017 in the 21st Century. It is an age of knowledge and communication. We need to reflect a while on the quality of life that we live on this planet earth. On the one hand, access to information and knowledge through the internet, happens at the click of a button. It is a veritable boon to everyone and especially for students. On the other hand, it has severely limited actual contact with human beings, such as teachers, friends and elders. Thus the learning that a person gains of the vast knowledge and practical experience that is at his disposal is limited.
Today, a small child can access and navigate the internet with an ease that still astounds those from older generation. But what is even more astounding is the neglect of the basic human traits of friendship, society, relationships and family values. Owing to all the technological advancements and gadgets available today, children often miss on the most enriching of childhood experiences such as playing outdoor games with friends, which apart from being immensely enjoyable and physically exhilarating, also develops traits such as team work and discipline from an early age.
But now, the concept of friends is gradually being limited to virtual friends on social networking sites. The time spent with computers or mobile phones is so enormous that there is no time for personal contacts and interactions. Some time they manifest emotional outbursts and aggressive tendencies in concrete life situations. They begin to treat persons as objects rather than human beings with dignity.
Now country sides are slowly urbanized. In cities, life is a race with variety of factors. It is a race that everyone tries one’s level best to win, but nobody actually wins as the race never ends. Everyone wants to be happy. But is such a race justified, when viewed through the prism of actual human contentment? This age of rapid development has created certain conveniences and comforts but at the same time it has brought in many other problems. The reason is that the basic goal of life which should be the pursuit of happiness has now replaced by the pursuit of money. Money and happiness are analogues in our present society, but in fact they are not so. In this mindless pursuit of money, nobody has the time now to appreciate the beauty of life. It does not consist in owning multicores worth of mansion, but a simple act of kindness to someone in time of need.
So there is an urgent need to stop for a moment and think about where we are actually leading to – Is it development or impoverishment of life? Do we have to wait until people have grown so far apart from each other that we cannot even see the sufferings of others due to our mindless greed or can we change our life priorities and goals?
Mr. Steve Jobs, an American millionaire, who lived in California, who is the owner of the Apple computer company and a partner of Disney Land died at the age of 56 on 5th October 2011. He suffered from cancer and died. In his death bed, he said the following, “I have name and fame, I have money and position in the society, and I have my wife and children. At my death nothing will follow me. What gives me joy and satisfaction at this moment is the relationship that I had with others and the kindness and comfort I gave to others”.
As we begin a New Year, let us set right our goals and priorities. May the Lord bless us all in the New Year 2017.
Most Rev. Dr. M. Devadass Ambrose
Bishop of Thanjavur