In this essay…
Once upon a time, there was a girl, Mukta Sharma. She was very fond of experimenting with this world. To discover herself, she used to visit different places that shapes her own thought processes as well as her actions. Over the period of time, with the surge of YouTube and Bloggings, she is now able to visit the world by sitting in a room with an internet connection.
In her conventional mean, there was a territorial limit set up by passports of the concerned countries. But now she has been able to visit the world with minimum cost and without a passport. It shows today technology is helping in the process of self-discovery. In this essay, we would like to know – What is self-discovery? Why self-discovery is necessary? How it has now been technologically outsourced? Other sources also matter apart from technology in the process of self-discovery. What is the prospect of self-discovery?
Self-discovery: Understanding inner soul
Self-discovery is the process of reasoning with his/her inner soul. It is the process to assess his/her own ideas, thoughts, actions, etc. in order to reach his/her own conclusion. For example, Mahatma Gandhi’s process of self-discovery was ‘experimenting with the truth.’ Mahatma Gandhi in his life tried and tested different methodologies to reach at the truth. At one point of time, he supported the British government in the Boer war and was agreed to extend support to the British government during the first world war.
As soon as Mahatma Gandhi discovered the truth that the credibility of the British government is poor, he stressed on passive resistance and a series of movements from the Non-cooperation Movement 1920 to the Quit India Movement 1942. Thus, like Mahatma Gandhi, everybody discovers himself/herself. Self-discovery helps in understanding his/her own potential and interacting with the world proportionately. It tells about the personality of an individual.
Self-discovery helps in eradicating evil activities and guides us to work for the greater good. For example, once a person understands the purpose for which he/she is in the concerned office, he/she would never take a bribe. Thus, it would lead to eradicating corruption in offices. Once protestors discover themselves, they would not vandalize the public property because it would let them know that it is not others’ but their own in a collective form.
The conventional process of self-discovery
The process of self-discovery is neither new nor unique to this world. It is founded across time and space. It traces its footprints in ancient times as well. Political thinker of the ancient Greek, Plato inherited dialectics, the process of self-discovery from Socrates. Dialectics is the process of self-discovery through reasoning. It is a kind of discourse between two or more people having diverse perspectives about a subject approaching a truth.
Similarly, in the cultural history of India, Gautam Buddha used the path of meditation to discover himself or attain Nirvana beneath the people tree at Bodh Gaya, a place in Bihar. From Buddha’s perspective, training our own mind is the best way to discover oneself because he believed that everything emanates from man’s mind. Apart from this, Huan Tsang used traveling as a process of discovering oneself. Hiuen Tsang visited India in the 7th century during the reign of Harshvardhana to discover himself by gaining knowledge.
In modern India, Dr. Ambedkar used the mean similar to Aristotle to discover oneself i.e., studying a lot of varieties. Aristotle studied the 158 constitutions before giving his thesis on the constitution. Similarly, Dr. Ambedkar studied the constitution of many countries while formulating the Indian constitution. In postmodern society, people started interaction in society through debates and discussions. Over the period of time, with the surge of the telecommunication revolution, the process of self-discovery is being outsourced.
New process of self-discovery: Technologically outsourced
In today’s world, the process of self-discovery has a direct relation with technology to some extent. At the Individual level, students are assessing themselves through online aptitude tests. In fact, industries are not only testing technological knowledge but the behavioral pattern as well through online aptitude tests conducted through laptops or PCs. Book lovers discover themselves through reading books online. It makes readers comfortable in carrying so many books on a single Tablet. Similarly, today spelling errors are corrected by technology while typing an e-mail.
In fact, travel bloggers like Mukta Sharma (As mentioned in the above anecdote) also chose to visit the world through YouTube which is not only less time-consuming but also cost-efficient too. Even at a family level, in need, members prefer to search the concerned article at e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. These e-commerce sites influence the choices of people. People are able to compare products before purchasing. It shows that today choices are even technologically outsourced.
Similarly, technology influences social behaviors. For example, people on social media today interact with diversity. They exchange their ideas and propagate cross-culture awareness. But the flip side of it is that cohesiveness of joint family is losing. People are reducing family time due to these social sites. But the same technology also helps people in self-assessment about the hours they spend on these sites. It shows that technology plays role in the engagement and disengagement with the social sites followed by the process of self-discovery.
Apart from this, in Indian society, traditionally arranged marriage was common and most acceptable. With the evolution of technology, even social choices are outsourced through technology. Matrimonial applications help people for meeting two families for marriage purposes. Similarly, in Indian society, earlier peddlers used to visit villages to discover customers. But now e-commerce sites have provided the platform to ship their products from their homes. It shows that technology outsources the process of self-discovering the potential for recognizing customers.
In the economic arena, investments and disinvestments are dependent on the data shown by the stock market through technology. Choices are more influenced due to technologically suggested data. Apart from the economy, in politics, voters’ choices are influenced by technology. Digital electoral campaigning studies human psychology and influenced their choices through rhetoric slogans and comparative analysis. In this context, even companies like I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee) have been established.
Apart from these, there is also an administrative perspective. In administration, a civil servant self-discovers the inherent qualities like compassion, integrity, and empathy through understanding real situations at grassroots level. Today at PDS shops, biometric machines decide beneficiaries. On the one hand, it helps in reducing exclusion error and ghost beneficiaries. On the other hand, it reduces the scope for civil servants to act in real-time. What if a genuinely poor woman who deserves food grain but is not able to get it due to technological error?
Similarly, at the global level, the world preferred virtual summits. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has helped the head of the state in self-assessing the potential to take care of its own needs as well as the world. For example, India helped the world during lockdown through HCQ tablet under ‘operation Sanjeevni’ and through vaccine under ‘operation Maitri.’ Technology has helped in assessing and tracking the need of the world. Hence, technology has an influence on the process of self-discovery of a nation.
Walking a mile in their shoes: Other processes also matters
However, it would also be not correct to say that technology has a monopoly over the process of self-discovery. Logical reasoning behind the development of concerned technology shows that human still plays an important role. Technology doesn’t control humans. In fact, humans control technology. Human beings have developed technology to assist people. It doesn’t mean that technology would take decisions on behalf of people by replacing the human mind.
As we know that human mind is the best form of energy. COVID-19 pandemic has proved this argument. Whenever humans face existential threats, they have the potential to protect themselves from all negative thrusts. For example, before COVID-19, a vaccine development process used to take nearly 10 years on average. But when the Corona vaccine locked up the world and posed challenges to the human world. Humans developed vaccines within a year and more than 100 studies were in process as per WHO findings.
Thus, it would not be correct to claim the assertion in the literal sense. For example, even if e-commerce sites influence social choices or electronic campaigning interferes with the natural process of election, the final decision still rests in the human’s hand. In the above anecdote, it is the complete choice of Mukta Sharma whether she prefers physical traveling or understands the world through technology. Mrs. Sharma may lose her own perspective if she prefers to see the world through the other’s prism.
In conclusion: Prospects of self-discovery
Apart from this, even if we agree on the notion that technology has an influence over the process of self-discovery, then we have to think about those people who are out of the ambit of accessibility to technology. As per the UN report, more than half of the world’s population doesn’t even have access to technology. So far, their choices are still natural. In the coming days, their choices may get technological flavors in deciding individual goods as well as social goods.
Some of the things would be difficult to replace completely. For example, paper-pen mode examination has its own potential in the context of security and impartiality. People would continue to visit the world. It would give first-hand experiences to people and has less dependent on secondary and tertiary sources for information gathering. People would continue to play a central role in deciding the role of technology in our life.
Thus, humans would allow the use of technology in the process of self-discovery where it assists. People would disallow its use where it harms the human race. Thus, the prospect of the role of technology would be of a mix in order to assist the human world in a better and more efficient way.
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