|Sri Sathya Sai Baba inaugurating the Computer Lab at His University|
Continued from Part 1
3. Appropriate Use of Computers and Technology
The computer is an artificial, mechanical and electronic device invented by man. In today’s world, vulgar, obscene and undesirable things are also available in the computer (referring to internet in this context). Hence, we ought to discriminate on the following lines:
1. Is computer going to be useful to us?
2. Is it going to affect our business?
3. Is it going to affect our human nature?
4. Is it going to affect our inherent Divinity?
A parallel can be drawn between the individual and the computer. Human beings are themselves like a powerful computer, since all possible knowledge (explanations and solutions to human problems) lies within then. All images are imprinted in their memory. But this is not true in the case of computers, where data has to be fed in by an operator. When you put the wheat grains or rice into the flour mill, you get out of it the wheat flour and rice flour respectively. In the same way, the computer’s output will depend entirely on the input. From this standpoint, we can say that computers are not as important as imagined. Men are more valuable than all the wealth of this world. The computer can definitely be used to our benefit. But do not become a slave to the computer and assume it to be indispensable! It is well known that several countries have already started entertaining doubts and raising objections about some of the computer applications which might mislead people on to the undesirable path. It entices people to desire for something which they do not actually need and may not even be aware of. Computers and technology can even make it possible for people to acquire some undesirable stuff through e-commerce. Man may desire for those things that are likely to lead him on to the wrong path. We must learn to use computers and technology only for those tasks that will benefit the society and not for those that will destroy it. Remember that the computer will only give answers to questions that are put by you. It cannot do anything of its own without keying in the required commands. Hence, the computer’s performance depends entirely on the programmer. A familiar situation of computer-related mistakes is the innumerable cases of successful students being ‘failed’ and failed students being declared as ‘passed’. The computer is a lifeless thing. The mistake is of the programmer.
The computer can also be used for compiling and computation of accounts. Our head is itself a big computer. It should be appropriately used. Suppose you have purchased a pair of trousers along with a shirt. You know the selling price of each item. Instead of adding the total of such figures in your mind, a practice which all people used to follow in the past; people of present times depend on calculating devices even for such simple calculations. The calculator is a permanent lifeless companion of today’s youth. In the olden days, several great truths and facts were learnt. The mind was alert and sharp. Today, we atrophy our brain by disuse. We can easily calculate that one note of ten rupees denomination plus three notes of five rupees denomination add up to twenty-five rupees. Why do you need the calculator to arrive at the total of such a simple addition of small figures? The electronic device would display wrong totals if wrong numbers are keyed in. The electronic device by itself is not harmful, but people should learn to use it only when really needed. The computer by itself is neither completely harmful, nor is it completely beneficial. However, first and foremost, one must learn to depend on one’s conscience.
Source: Guidelines for a Values-Based Manager: Spiritual, Personal and Business, Chapter 11, Man Management: A Values-Based Management Perspective