Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Lesson on Patience

My husband’s cell-phone was damaged and had to be repaired thrice before it could function again (this teaches us a valuable lesson: never entrust an electronic device to children under two-years of age because they are still in their oral phase and may treat your gadget as lollipop – like what Sarah did to Octavian’s phone). Anyway, even after reparation, his phone doesn’t function as normal as it used to. We have to take time pressing one button after another, gently and patiently, or it won’t work at all.

This can be very frustrating, especially when there is a state of urgency and we have to send SMS as soon as possible. A message (that usually takes less than a minute to send) now demands five times as much time. I keep telling myself, “Take it easy, no need to rush!” whenever typing a message.

But something struck me this morning. I suddenly realize that MOST of the routines I do are now done in a much more calmly way. Instead of rushing to and fro, banging and slamming things as I move about, I tend to work – and even speak! – in a more careful and calmly way. Is it possible that taking time and carefulness in using a half-damaged cell-phone brings about a change in one’s attitude?

Perhaps it does. I suddenly recall Dieter Mack’s criticism on the rise of digital era. It was in an interview during Indonesian Art Summit 2004 that this writer, professor, and avant-garde music composer criticized that the rapid growth of information and technology brings a negative impact on human behavior. He explained that people nowadays are so used to the acceleration of news-feed that they can no longer dig deep into the core of matters. Here are some examples: every news broadcasted on television takes about 2-3 minutes of our time, video-clips of popular music takes approximately 5 minutes, and advertisements merely takes seconds to watch!

Before anyone can digest a certain case, they are already exposed to another! No wonder people of this generation have difficulty appreciating anything deeply and genuinely! This is sadly true in nearly every country in the world.

People these days have very low rate of patience. They tend to focus on instant results instead of appreciating processes. The easy access to all sorts of information and quick answers for all questions and problems causes people to unable to concentrate on processes and/or appreciate details.

People don’t contemplate anymore. They can’t concentrate on a certain matter for long. They tend to rush in everything they do. And when there is no quick and easy answer to their problems, they grow restless, anxious, and depressed. Their mind has turned shallow and their inner strength for striving is sapped.

I never understood Mack’s explanation before, even after years reading his essays and books. But now, I understand it to the full! I hope you, too, may understand this lesson on patience – without getting your cell-phone damaged at first place, hopefully.

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