Will human beings develop new limbs to use modern gadgetry?

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By Jagan N. Gosain

Wheaton, IL: The amount of total materials in the world, such as coal, petroleum, iron ore, copper, and the like, on the land and in the cosmos is a finite quantity. However, the rate of usage and wastage can vary for different materials at times in history. Rich nations  are extracting, using and wasting these resources at a much faster rate than the poor nations. Sometimes they are using these materials more efficiently like in the high tech industry; however in most of the cases they are wasting these resources as is evident by the sheer volumes of landfills around the world.

From the medieval times to the present times, the time for the changes and innovations both constructive and destructive has been reduced drastically say from generations to decades. We are now using less materials and can accomplish the task faster like computing and we are also using materials more efficiently for electronic gadgetry. Some of them are necessary and are ever changing. Some are for survival but most of them are to satisfy our egos and to satisfy our ever-increasing unnecessary demands, without understanding or appreciating the consequences. Like eating too much for the taste and gaining weight, then go through the regimen of loosing weight, once the weight is lost, repeating the cycle of overeating, gaining and loosing weight all over again.

For everything we gain, we have to give up something, as we might be able to do more things than the previous generation, but might have to  give up something in return. Like the young people these days might be able to do several things during the same time span known as multitasking. In the process they are unable to do anything well. Some people while driving  are talking on the phone, text-messaging and applying makeup. The result is a risky driving endangering everybody on the road. Like you may have noticed, that those people, who hardly talk to each other even on the phone, convey their feelings by sending e-mails or text-messaging. The driving problem may be solved by smarter automobiles. Then some other similar problem will develop at different time. Driving was chosen as an example; but different times will have different problems. I have seen people sitting on desk next to each other in the office but would send e-mail  to each other rather than sticking their neck and talking. The result is poor grammar, incomplete sentences, poor sentence structure, and messages devoid of any feelings.

To be able to do the task well one has to be able to concentrate on the problem one is trying to solve. This reminds me of an anecdote that I learnt as I was growing up in India. There was a Guru, who was teaching archery to the princes. After the education was complete, there came the time for final exam. Guru put a rubber sparrow on a tree and asked the pupil to shoot the eye of sparrow with the arrow. He started calling the princes one by one and asked as to what they were seeing. Most of the princes answered they were seeing  a jungle, tree and a sparrow. Now came Arjuna’s turn. When asked, “What do you see”? Arjuna replied I see only the eye of the sparrow.” He became the best archer of his times and may have been partially responsible for the victory of Pandva’s in  the Kurukshetra  war as narrated in great Hindu epic Mahabharat. Such is the power if  one has to be able to concentrate on the problem all the time — while awake or sleep, eating or drinking.

Time is a fixed commodity. There are only 24 hours in a day whether you belong to rich or poor  nation, if you are black, white or brown, king or a beggar. What you do with that time is up to you, you may decide to do several things, none of them proper or do fewer things and do them well.

Given the present attitude, men and women may not have to cohabit to produce babies. Babies might be available at specialized stores in containers, such as jars and there may be sales, which may read on the Internet, “Buy one doctor at regular price and we will throw-in a carpenter for one cent.” Women will not like to go through nine months of discomfort of pregnancy and birthing pain, when the babies can be bought at the stores. Babies may also be adopted or the wombs may be rented from women in the poorer nations. To satisfy the physical urges, male and female robots will be available at the stores who will do everything on command as nobody would like to tolerate another human and his/her mood swings.

As Charles Darwin hypothesized the limb or appendage which is not being used will eventually disappear. I am afraid that after some generations humanity may loose the sound box and some other things that we may not use and grow extra thumbs for text messaging or some other limbs that we cannot even imagine at this stage.

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