TED Conversations

Anil Rajvanshi

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Should we limit our use of cellphones, internet and TV to get back our mental peace?

Internet, cell phones and TV are great means of communication and information. However we as humans are becoming their slaves. A short essay on what can and should be done is at. http://www.nariphaltan.org/cellphone.pdf

Thoughts, debate and suggestions are welcome.

  • Sep 24 2012: The only person I can ever hope to have peace with is myself. I am reading this as "should I" limit my use to help me find my mental peace. My answer to that is ... limit or get rid of mindless use of technology. If you want to be on facebook or watch TV then do it but know you are doing it, be mindful of that action. It is the mindless actions, whether it be technology,eating or anything else that I am trying to rid myself of. I have caught myself many of times clicking on facebook because it was a default action not because I wanted to go onto facebook. but I digress so to sum it up

    mindful use of cellphones,internet and TV = yes
    mindless use of cellphones,internet and TV = no
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      Sep 25 2012: Well said Glenn
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      Oct 4 2012: Help me mind without ⬆⬇ this ⬅➡ -- guess which direction arrow is missing and you can not represent it right on the screen ?
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    Sep 13 2012: My parents' TV recently died, and they haven't bothered to replace it. It has been several months now, and they watch zero TV. That sounds rather draconian to me, but they both love the new environment. My Father constantly comments about how many books he is reading and that he has begun writing poetry again. I'm definitely missing something in my leisure time choices.
  • Sep 23 2012: There is no definition of what mental peace really is. We have made our lives dependable on these gadgets which we use everyday that without these, we would be missing our mental peace. I can't imagine how I would do stuff without the internet or cellphones. Now, there can be an argument on ho it was done before they were invented. Well, in that case what is progress if we still do the stuff the way did them a hundred years ago? I feel that we have not become slaves to the modern technology, but we have learnt how to make an efficient use of our knowledge and progress so that we can be even more dependent on more gadgets in the future. I remember my dad telling me on how many hours he spent doing his projects during his school days. It took him days at times because he might not find the stuff he was exactly the book he was reading. But now, it takes me just minutes or just a few hours to get my stuff done.
    • Sep 23 2012: Exactly, these technologies can be used for good and people don't need to be told how they are supposed to relax themselves. It's refreshing to read a comment here that's not part of the general "we old people think the lazy good-for-nothing youth don't conform to our idea of mental peace, so we should ban the technology they like and we don't understand" narrative.
  • Sep 10 2012: The key to life is moderation. You can over do or under do anything. Self control. I personally embrace new and existing technologies. Peace of mind ( mental peace ) is a different can of worms. I have learned in my 50 plus years of experience that to achieve " mental peace " there are for me a few things that I had to do. Make peace with my past was one. I have a saying to explain what I mean. The past has already happened you cannot change it. Only learn from it. The future has to many variables. So in a sense all anyone has is right now. And what we do right now in some ways shape our future. If your motives are honorable and you know that you are doing your very best and looking at life in the proper prospective , Peace of mind " Mental Peace " is doable with knowledge, self control and purpose.
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      Sep 11 2012: Yes moderation is the key word. How do you teach that to youngsters? That is the biggest challenge. That will happen when the older generation also follows moderation and then teach the youngsters by their examples. Too often it has been seen that young mothers put their children in front of TV as pacifiers. Right from beginning if children are taught to read books and get into the reading habit then they will be less distracted by electronic information. Well that is the dream.

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        Sep 14 2012: I think I may be able to answer this in part. I teach pre-service educators about technology use. Recently, I've added a component about removing yourself from the technology. We discuss ways to schedule this time and how to reflect on its impact to one's mood. If we are able to launch a new education program on technology and innovation here, this will be one of the key components. Hopefully by educating new teachers about the importance of sabbatical, they will come to value this and teach it in their own classrooms.
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          Sep 20 2012: Amy, I partially agree. Sabbatical is very important, but removing ourselves from technology may be close to utopia, I think. What about teach a right and adequate use of it? But your proposal is very interesting, of course.
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    Sep 14 2012: Over the years these technologies became a huge part of our modern lives. I am 18 and I grew up with them, but with these fantastic technologies comes a fear we have never really had. The fear of missing out on something. In the coming years it will probably be harder and harder to limit our technology usage. There is a great project on the internet to remind us of the fact that there is more than (social) media in life.

  • Oct 5 2012: Mental peace comes from within.. not from limited use of technology. Technology can be great if used to positively affect us. As an example, stalking someone on facebook is not an indication of too much use of technology, its an indication of insecurity with oneself.

    Hope this helps.
  • Oct 4 2012: The only time a human can obtain' mental peace' is when their dead. Like one of the other answers, all will just substitute on thing for another.
    • Oct 5 2012: What sort of peace do you hope to find in death? I don't mean to have a mocking tone, but I for one do not like the idea of having "peace of mind" for eternity. I want to continue to explore and learn. With peace of mind will I have great knowledge and wisdom? Is it there will I find peace...knowing all that is to know?
      Some say we are to be reborn or reincarnated into another sentient being...others still say we are to be with the one who created us...once i was told we would just be collected back into the singular consciousness out in space or into nothingness waiting to collect the rest who are still on this website, at which point still nothing will happen for eternity.
      You are right that if it's not one thing it will be replaced or substituted for another. If it's not radio than it's TV. If not short morse coding than it's short messages on twitter...you get the point. I do believe we are evolving even if we don't want to believe it. We will adapt and continue our push for more knowledge - perhaps tap into the other 90% of our brain capacity and who knows perhaps surprise ourselves in being able to one day cope with having the vast knowledge we've attained AND be able to spend 5 minutes a day reflecting and gaining back our mental peace.
      Who is to say our mental limit has been reached with the dawn of computers and social media where it stands today. Scientific American published an article on the physical limitations of humans intelligence. I'll end my rambling tonight with this quote, "Humans, however, might still achieve higher intelligence collectively. And technology, from writing to the Internet, enables us to expand our mind outside the confines of our body." Essentially indicating the technologies of today is an extension of our brain! :)
      • Oct 5 2012: Hi James. I meant that only in death do we find inner quiet, at least I hope so. The only inner quiet that can be found in life is by a induced coma and I'm no into that.
  • Sep 24 2012: I banished the TV from home, and did not miss it.
    have started a digital free Sunday, and plan to limit digital connection, cell phone and Computer, to a few hours a day.
    have been able to spend a lot more time with myself since then.
    This TV dumbs us down to be lead, and make us react to its content,often limiting new ideas and thoughts.
    the computer and internet are useful, but getting addicted to them, stops us from our natural selves.
    we all need to cultivate a life outside the digital!
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      Sep 24 2012: I don't think a television has anything to do with this. Before TV we blamed radio...before radio it was something else.

      I feel like we get so wrapped up in "get rid of it" and never focus on achieving balance.

      We cannot run away from innovation...just apply it in productive ways.

      If you are addicted to the internet...and you remove the internet...you still have the addictive behavior.

      This for that.
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      Sep 25 2012: Let me say I do like digital free Sunday...I need to steal that from you.
  • Sep 24 2012: dont limit it, people will bored to it eventually...
    I use pc and smartphone everyday, for 20 years and I already bored, so I only use it for few minutes for a day...
  • Sep 18 2012: Yes as long as its free willed and not something like government control. I have deactivated my facebook for about 3 months now, i didn't realize how much time it consumed, my workdays become more productive, I saw things outside downtown where I work that I never noticed before because going to and fro work I was deep in my phone examining the social world. I have been calm and collected and its allowed me to stay away from insignificant drama issues in other peoples lives. I'm also a musician and it has helped me see things differently not having the social world shoved down my throat so what I write now feels more natural.
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    Sep 15 2012: We all know that cellphones, television and internet have a big influence on our own lifes - in all parts. Men and women behind this power usually hit their targets, they make we feel as a "fish out of water" without their tools of communications. Besides, it is not our fault: they force everybody to get into this world of technology - anyone could be in the edges, because, for example,nowdays the whole people that I know enroll in Facebook (my mother, my father, my grandmother, grandfather and also my friend's dog) so I have to be there too. Even tough everything, I believe that the issue isn't about using this products, but the issue is the WAY we use it.

    Of course, either this changes the behavior of people, one of the proves is the socialization that are falling each day and -the worst thing- we seldom don't and can't realize it. I must to emphasize that before I read the essay of Anil Rajvanshi, I was sure we can't do anything to change your reality, but it was a mistake. I agree and support him with the idea of moderated through discipline their use, whose tendency is thrive.

    Indeed, "we seem to be losing the ability to carry out face to face social interation with friends" and this is an unhappy fact. I'll give you a curious example: in my vacations - when my classe of the university has just standardized - we created a group on facebook to previous know each other with the intention to not be "alone" in the first day. Incredibly, the result shocked me: in the first day seemed everybody was a strange for others, we even haven't a decent conversation.

    Who I am to judge this? In spite of belonging to this scenery, I am a person who is not proud of my behaving.
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      Sep 16 2012: The disconnect between the real and the virtual is a disorienting side effect it seems. It is less than intuitive to finish a conversation in the real that began in the virtual. Each perspective requires our undivided attention to maximize perception. The more we are connected the less we may notice.
      The virtue of being unplugged may become technological holiness. Therefore, unplugging may become a spiritual experience. However, to unplug is to first be plugged in, connected and self aware.
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    Sep 15 2012: perhaps we are not smart enough to be able to put it all down yet. we may need to develop the technology that will allow us to develop the social and behavioral skills to efficiently manage ourselves and our environment.
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    Sep 13 2012: before sharing my idea, i want to ask a few question. how to follow the latest idea? is TED a good way to have a discussion with others? if TED disappear, will we feel regretful?

    apparently, modern technology, such as internet, do have a positive impact on our life.

    although, cell phones, TV and internet has brought us some trouble. these things not only make us lack communication in reality society,but also disturb our mind.everyday we come into contact with variety of information,we don't know wether it is right or wrong, ture or fault. we absorb all of it without select,especially for kids.thus,what to do or who am i become a strict question for us.

    however,as i mention, the most important things is not limitation but selection. if we can choose the information we need, we will make full use of mordern technology. TED is a good example.here are the newest idea and great platform to share ideas.we choose the idea we want and aren't worry about the sophisticated matters.then we get back to our mental peace.
  • Sep 8 2012: I don't think going back is the key here, but I see a much more liberation of such technologies and perhaps even combining them into minimum requirement systems such as Google's Project Glass. Now we can do more things at the same time and at the same place without having different stations that requires a fixed set of time, consuming on each device. I think this integration of communication will drastically change how we use it also. Video games becomes obsolete, when augmented reality becomes integrated with the real world and the possibility is endless and fun. Cellphones becomes tiresome, when it's integrated with a single device that already does multiple tasks. TV and internet will still become something we will enjoy in our leisure time and in comfortable surroundings, but more and more I feel this trend will move out to the real world - waiting for the buss/on the buss, walking to the store, in the bathroom etc. which obviously is already happening. On top of that I think people will crave more interactivity with their content which leaves the real world to an exciting place to explore and enjoy their social medias and means of communication on a much more profound level resulting in a much more relaxed relationship to the technologies.
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    Sep 7 2012: says the guy on the internet :)
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      Sep 7 2012: I think he was talking more about moderation of their uses, rather than to reject their uses completely.
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        Sep 7 2012: Yes but with Krisz one never knows if he's joking with you or not.I have addictive behavioral sets that can lead me into some stupid things but it's not like that of drugs or gambling yet it is still the same type of behavior.I can't have lollies or chocolate biscuits around me,when i was a toddler my mother use to work at a lolly factory and because she used to bring home sacks of the stuff for fundraiser events, while she was at work,what do you think the kids did?
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    Sep 7 2012: Freedom without bounds can lead to bondage; but its no use preventing bondage with bondage.
    If there is ever freedom of choice, there is danger in the possibility of making the wrong choice. In trying to get rid of the danger we could end up robbing people of the freedom to choose.
    TV, cellphones and technology are not bad. Like food, sex, and wine they can be abused. It is the responsibility of individuals to be disciplined and to apply wisdom in the use of technology.
  • Oct 5 2012: Mental peace is more of a Power that one will obtain once they converge their mind towards something powerful, which is GOD. It is not from the use of some gadgets. One is stress free when these electronic gadgets are not used extensively. However, one is not at Mental Peace even at that point in time. Once our Mind is consistently used for obtaining such power by concentrating on something more powerful or reading and understanding extensively any Holy Books, Mental Peace is achieved
  • Oct 5 2012: Yes Michael ( and all) .. we have to be sure that our lives don't get run over by the "information superhighway." So many things can become addictions. It is important to find a balance.
  • Oct 5 2012: The internet is the "information superhighway"... or something like that. With that being said you can op to spend my time reading positive or negative material. One is just accessible as the other, and like a lot of you have already mentioned it becomes a personal responsibility. Whether you will waste some time scrolling a news feed, or be productive in gaining knowledge of info that can actually make a difference in your life. I have learned and am practicing this more recently... and I gotta say that it does help mental peace. so yes we should limit use of cellphones, internet and TV to get back our mental peace. Or at least pointless use...
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    Oct 5 2012: Not sure about the mobile and internet but watching TV is a kind of passive activity it might not be healthy over a long run as ti does not involve physical activity but uses the least of your mental effort i think.

    But you can always work on finding something that is better to do than these things to keep you occupied. This is what i always do. Come what may you just have only 24 hours a day. If you are currently watching 4 hours of TV and are able to identify a new high quality activity and borrow time from watching TV and put it in this new activity some 2 hours, your problem gets solved. The key ere is high quality activity, should at any cost replace low quality activity.
  • Oct 5 2012: I agree with many in this discussion. The internet has evolved from a want to a need in todays society. Although there are many out their still resisting this inevitable change. I feel that it is only a matter of time.
    Nowadays gaming is done online, research is done online, you can learn, plan, implement and analyse using the internet. It is not only a benefit in so many ways, but it has allowed human intelligent to progress at a far faster rate.
    I guess this can be highlighted through the success of ecommerce and digital marketing companies such as www.williamscommerce.com . Only three years old, and growing at a substantial rate. I think its those who know most about the digital world like this company, will provide services for all those possibly hesitant to start up online and give everyone a chance to reap the rewards of an online business.
    I guess my end note is that the digital world is our life. Being a young individual I would not know how to live without it to be honest. The next generation will be so dependent on the digital world that I feel only those who have began to utilize its functions will survive.
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    Oct 5 2012: Of course.

    These days, people talk much about freedom, send troops and use economic sanctions on countries they perceive as limiting freedom. Freedom comes from within. Forcing people to be free is a strange idea, much like hating intolerant people. We should watch that we are free inside - not within our own country, but within ourselves. We should control ourselves - not let things that we possess, our habits, addictions, fears, obsessions, opinions of others, etc. control us.
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    Oct 5 2012: ...technology is a spiritual involution of humans - i mean just blase us faster than you think and without feel it for a lot of us
  • Oct 4 2012: You asked, "Should we limit our use of cellphones, internet and TV to get back our mental peace?" The answer is, "Yes." Nothing is achieved in life without the application of our attention. If we split our attention between too many competing areas then the deep focus required to penetrate life's greater mysteries cannot be achieved.

    The ability to simply sit and think about a problem is of primary importance. Nothing is achieved without the application of attention. The most distilled and powerful application of attention comes by giving our awareness to one thing at a time. The array of options for where to place our attention is not the big problem. The big problem is developing the wisdom to choose the right one and the discipline to keep our attention on our choice.

    Fear makes people jump from place to place looking for safety or satisfaction. Love allows us to focus. As long as there is something that ignites a passion within an individual then love will drive them forward. No amount of technology will stand in their way or fail to serve their need.

    We do need to slow down. I’d say we should make it a regular part of each day. A time to reflect and see how we feel about where we are and where we think we are going. A resting point in each day that allows us to see if we still follow our passion.

    There is a line from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life that says, “Why don’t you kiss the girl instead of talking her to death?” That’s the problem with too many distractions. We talk it to death when all we really have to do is begin.
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    Oct 4 2012: Are we evolving to become a technologically dependent society? I think what we have now was created when it was not essentially needed, but if we are "raising generations of young people who only know how to react", what is this adaptation doing to our ability to analyze and think critically?
  • Oct 4 2012: If we are to evolve, would we need to evolve as quickly as our technologies? Or would we not have to evolve because our technologies do all the growth for us? I suppose this doesn't answer the above but to say that what we have now is not what we need than we should try to find what we will need soon. As Nadine Upton said earlier in this post, "There's no back, just forward". There is so much truth to that simple statement on many levels.
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    Oct 4 2012: Yes. Information is becoming ever more accessible. There is so much to see, learn, hear that it seems development of ones 'self' is getting lost in the mix. People consume more than they can comprehend. We must learn to pace ourselves.
  • Oct 4 2012: I prefer my kindle. It`s another kind of thing.I will never abandon it.
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    Oct 4 2012: Yes.

    (1) Our adapting rate can never match the developing rate of internet, cell phone, and TV.
    (2) Thus, these products are always out of the VALID SCOPE of our instincts.
    (3) Hence, we lost our metal peace operated by our instincts.
    (4) That is, these products give us INVALID HAPPINESS.
  • Oct 2 2012: There's no back, just forward
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      Oct 4 2012: we all have a back, just watch my back, ... be serious :) you know what I mean.