Thursday, January 19, 2012

Behaviourial Addiction : are you hooked in "artificial' laziness?

Picture this vicious cycle  :  An IT employee is the project in-charge of a new video-game. He slogs to create/program it, has countless meetings with his team, scribbles on miles of paper, drinks countless cups of coffee to stay up the night to meet the game-launch deadlines, spends a bomb in it's promotion and marketing, and launches it among the glitz-crazy media. Finally, he is so tired (to do anything else) that he come home and plays the same video-game, and falls asleep on the couch, only to wake up next morning to go for his IT job.
Simultaneously, this video-game also hooks millions of youth into 24-hour addictions ("lat" or "vyasan" in Hindi).
Before the addicted youth start feeling bored of the game, our IT dude is designing a new game, creating a new hook, to addict the youth for another few months. Before the target consumer is completely bored, a new game series hits the market, with additional 'complexities' and 'levels'. Before the 'hunger' is satisfied, the company is asking the consumer, "Are you not more hungry?" "Would you not like like to try something new and better?" "Then you don't know what you are missing!" (It crosses the line from healthy consumption to indiscriminate consumerism). Before you know it, you are in the loop, a downward spiral. This becomes a never-ending process of keeping people engrossed in temporary "thrill". It encashes the "Ripu" (enemy) called "Moha", or blind attachment. People are getting paid, for being creative enough, to puncture the creativity of others!!!
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Have you noticed? Most people spent their professional time to create things/services for the time-pass of others!!! People are busy in creating things/services, which make people lazy. "How to keep people engaged/busy", is the ultimate scheme of the businesses/corporations; and they are making millions out of it. Check out the seven most money-minting businesses. Millions of man-hours are spent in order to waste billions of man-hours. Now you realize why the world economy is declining and we are becoming poorer  and poorer as a world community?
1) Movies. You just passively sit and watch it, semi-hypnotized in the make-believe world. Only a few movies make you think, e.g. "A Wednesday". Bollywood is a multi-billion dollar industry, simply because we like to be couch potatoes, with a remote in our hand. Have you noticed : we are always switching channels in the "hope" of something better to entertain us, and spent a whole lot of time in just choosing and finalizing the channel. Commercial breaks make you choose another channel, and you get hooked into another movie, before the previous one is over. So instead of a 3-hr movie, you end up couching for 4-5 hours, not watching any movie fully, yet hoping a better movie is going on in another channel.
Loop :  Friday after Friday, movies release to feed our laziness, instead of our minds.
Enjoy : Go to the theatre, enjoy a break-less movie, socialize and hang out with friends, and return home.
Side benefit : Punctuality is required, or you will miss the movie. :D. Also, you can plan you next agenda, since you don't have the remote in your hand in the theatre.
Reality : A documentary like "Inconvenient Truth" is not hyped/marketed/promoted. Did you see its posters/rushes/trailers?!
Cost : It is far cheaper to make a message-oriented simple movie than a make-believe magnum opus.
2) Video-game industry. The games are designed such that you "almost win", which makes it try it "just-once-more" such that you hope to win it the next time. You are caught in that vicious cycle, whether Super Mario or Counterstrike. You would want to stop playing only after winning the game. Not winning, usually by a whisker, makes you "persevering" to win, increasing your "persistence", and you keep going for "one-more time", promising yourself "I will surely win it next time". Wake up : you are hooked!
Enjoy : A game that increases your aptitude/IQ/word power/sharpness of the brain (e.g. Mensa Quiz).
Side benefit : Enjoy the dance video game : you have your cardio workout.
3) Cricket. You sit and watch and cheer, postponing your own priorities : the cricketer does not even know who you are, much less improve your curriculum vitae/salary. IPL games become money-spinners, glamorizing a game which requires less athletic prowess than any Olympic game. The patriotic thrill felt in an India-Pakistan match is also, sadly, lacking in the IPL matches. This game had been dwindling from Test matches to 1-day-internationals to twenty-20 games, and yet, the spectators' "mada" ripu (intoxication) keeps the money spinning for Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, the BCCI, and Lalit Modi.
Enjoy : If you a high-school physics buff, study the kinematics and fluid dynamics of the motion of the ball, starting from swinging/spinning, to its parabolic trajectory over the ropes.
Side benefit : Catch a money launderer through such events (to which they are often associated), and emphasize the need for stronger anti-corruption laws.
Reality : The best physical activities like running/swimming are not glamorized. Who is your favourite runner/swimmer/gymnast?!
Cost : Running/swimming/gymnastics required much less investment than cricket.
4) Liquor industry. You numb you senses and drown in a temporary 'relief', or you make a fashion statement by drinking. The more actively you drink, the more passive you become, with limbs refusing to move even to take you home. Alcohol does not provide any nutrients for your health. It is treated as a foreign substance by the digestive system, which the liver must metabolize immediately, putting other important assimilation processes on hold. You wake up with a headache (read hangover), then waste the morning in "trying to feel better". Long-term after-effects need not be reiterated here.
Loop :  The more you drink, the more drinks you want; and you end sozzled up, puking. (The more you smoke, the more cigarettes you need; ending up in cancer. The more chips you eat, the more you want; ending up in obesity.)
Enjoy :  One mock-tail at sub-zero temperatures, only if your metabolism has temporarily slumped due to the cold.
Side benefit : Re-kindle a smouldering fireplace with it, use it in the Chemistry Lab, or gift it to a homeopathic doctor.
Reality : How much will you pay a celeb to endorse milk/chawanprash?
Cost : The nutritious sugarcane juice is of a negligible cost, compared to a hard drink.
5) Social networking sites. You get hooked into 'spying' on what others are doing, instead of focusing on your work. People make status updates about what they cooked/where they ate/how long they slept in the weekend/weather updates at tourist spots/current favourite song/etc.etc. Notice : most of the status updates reflect laziness : they do not start any discussion on social importance / opinion polls on issues requiring activism. On the other side, 21-year-olds get jobs of Rs. 80 lakhs per annum in Facebook, who get busy in making more than 80 lakh (8 million) people lazy at any given time on the planet.
Loop :  The more updates you give, the more reactions come, the more conversations begin, the more time you end up facebook-ing.
Utilize : Mix among communities of professional importance, download reading material, establish contacts for career enhancement.
Side benefit : Wish you friends on birthdays, anniversaries, festivals, etc.without the expensive ISD calls.
6) Fast food joints. : You gobble utterly non-nutritious food, never getting enough of it, and lose your fitness; and then, to lose weight, you fuel the weight-loss industry. Two industries are making money simply by utilizing you "lobha" ripu (greed), which followed by guilt. You announce that you had a special pizza/burger in your status update (which no one cares about), pay for the fat (pun intended) bill, and then pay for the hefty gym membership. Wake up Honey : money is being rolled first through your digestive system, and then your muscular-skeletal system.
Loop : Weight-loss programs and diets will never give permanent results, else it will lose it targets.
Enjoy : Catch up with a distant friend after a long time, over a small grab. Focus to the chatting.
Side Benefit : Use the soft drink to clean the porcelain in your wash-room.
Reality : Any hype about rice, dal, vegetables, fruits, nuts (the most nutritious and healthy things you can have)?
Cost : Fresh potato, rich in carbohydrates, is almost "free"; compared to the utterly fatty, celeb-endorsed, useless, potato chips.
7) Telephone : the more you talk, the less work you get done. There was a time when telephone was only for emergency purposes (priority information transfer or quick communication). Ever since the mobile invasion,  it is a time-pass. We talk and talk for hours on the phone talking mundane stuff, since this "complicated" world has created physical distances from our near and dear ones. Every single day, we have to spend time telling what we ate, where we are going, how the weather is, what you are going to wear, etc.etc. Most calls, esp. the late night ones, are used for exchanging "sweet nothings". So you are spending electrical and sound energy for accomplishing nothing? Silence is golden, and the telephone is its enemy.
Loop"Why didn't you pick up my call?", "Are you so busy to even reply to my SMSs?","Why didn't you call last night when you promised you will?","How dare you forget to call me?".....Sounds familiar? Sabse zyada dimaag ki dahi is mobile phone ne ki hain! Want to get into trivial bickering because of the invention called a mobile phone? Look how the marketing of this device is leading to emotional issues.
Enjoy : Use it to surprise a long lost friend.
Side  benefit : You can switch off and abscond temporarily. Going underground has its benefits.
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All these addictions (and others) have a kernel of nothingness in its core. The density of the substance is absent. Superficiality is the hallmark. Have you noticed : all of the above have huge hype surrounding it.
Mass cannot be created of nothing. Real wealth cannot be created without real effort. Putting effort into your X-Box is not creating real wealth. Milking the cows and writing a book are. Real wealth like food-grains, vegetables, everyday clothes, LGP cylinders, utensils, stationery, sports goods, non-fiction books, intelligent tele-films, thought-provoking documentaries, are NEVER hyped! Essentials are not glamorized since they will be anyhow consumed. It is the luxuries that need the hype to create artificial "need" : it is a money rolling game, honey! Too many people spend money they didn't earn, to buy things they do not need, to 'impress' people they do not know. It is this process that sucks the planet of it resources and dooms it for our future generations. (Watch "The Story of Stuff" for details)
Also, do you notice you are in the reactive situation, i.e. at the receiving end? You cannot decide the game or the movie. It will be made by others; and served to you. You cannot control what you consume/watch/play/drink.
The above seven are the strongest national (behavioural) addictions in India, after tobacco. Historically, China was caught in the opium addiction. Addictions are used to keep the common man lazy, hypnotized in the temporary "benefits", thereby lulling them into slumber. The moment you become lazy, you become a weaker person in the society,  and you can be easily manipulated. Businesses all over the, big and small, are making (minting) money by keeping the common man lazy. The governments use mass-addictions  to put the common man to sleep, thereby ensuring an unopposed ride of power for themselves at present, and minting money by sucking the common man's pockets to secure their own material future. Necessities like wheat and onions, being bought and sold in the economic system (through the Public Distribution System), are not enough to feed the greed of the big daddies of the socio-political and socio-economic system. They need to capitalize on the human Ripu-s to suck out wealth for you. How much you allow them depends on how much you have conquered you Ripu-s. Have you?
Let's make things simple. Let's not create clutter, and then (strangely) get busy in clearing it. Some things have been made seemingly important, which actually are NOT!
Let's now look at the opposite scenario, which is far more pro-active, putting you in the driver's seat.:
1) You refuse to sit before the TV, semi-hypnotized like a couch potato. You unplug the idiot box, and learn something new at home, e.g. carpentry/plumbing. You save on the plumbing/carpentry bills. Better still, create your own documentary film, to spread a message or create awareness.
2) You take the IQ tests online, and improve your word power. Your brain's neurons get a solid workout, thereby increasing their life. You contribute in creating a knowledge-society, instead of a consumerist one.
3) You refuse to sit and watch games : Instead, you start playing a strenuous game yourself. Your heart and lungs become stronger, increasing your longevity. Competition-cum-camaraderie senses consolidate concurrently.
4) You refuse liquor : Instead you endorse lassi / nimboo pani / chaas / date palm juice /sugarcane juice / coconut juice in your social circle, pushing the indigenous (read unadulterated and authentic) businesses, instead of the frizzy carbonated colas, which are full of nothingness (pun intended).
5) You de-activate your Facebook account. Instead, you write your blog, blooming your creativity, creating social awareness, and even going into activism.
6) You refuse to eat junk (esp. when mom is not around) : Instead you eat healthy home-cooked food, and also learn authentic cooking in the process (and not just microwaving). You have so many options available in your kitchen, and will not need a microwave. You win praises form friends and family, and feed healthy nutritious food to your children.
7) You keep your mobile phone off by choice : instead of dissipating your energy in talking, you get the opportunity to maintain silence, meditate, introspect, and talk to yourself (someone you ignored while talking to others). You lower your entropy, warding off unnecessary vibrations from your physio-psychological system. Try a Maun Vrat for just 24 hours.
Are you more feeling powerful now? You are not ruled by others. You don't follow trends, rather you become the trendsetter yourself. Nothing can disturb you and eat into your schedule : neither Facebook, nor mobile, nor the remote, nor the mouse.
The business houses will NOT decide what you will do. YOU are your own master. You will decide for yourself. You do have a choice.
STOP DOING NOTHING!!!!! (Watch the Punjabi movie "Mera Pind" for details.)

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