Monday, November 28, 2011

Philosophy of Miniaturization

Our computers have more or less shrunk into objects that can be held in hand. That it was inconceivable a few decades back is a fact. The device in hand not only makes calls, plays music and movies but brings any information to the fore at the touch of a button. All said and done it is as of now the concept of miniaturization, where our world has been brought to our palms. Hold on, not only has the computer shrunken, shrunken has many other things today. Relations, attention span, nature, space, they have all been miniaturized.

The population of world recently reached seven billion is right, but the same increase applies to the available space on earth, or the natural resource it has is not true. So when there are more people and less resource, what is the way out? Miniaturize! Imagine the space desktop computers would occupy as compared to laptops or tablets (for people of Stone Age – if laptop is notebook, tablet is a sheet of paper)! The same applies to the cordless phone type mobile phones of yesteryears.

The gramophones gave way to cassettes, both audio and video, and cassettes to compact discs, they to DVD and now DVD to Blue Ray discs. Moral of the story – Miniaturization at its best! It will be a bit difficult for a kid of today to calculate the number of video cassettes that would equal the movies in a DVD (for the simple reason being he/she has in all likelihood not seen what a video cassette is!). Now let me not talk about data storage floppy disk (anyone remembers the 5.1 inch ones?) and flash drives (floppy vs flash!!).

Material goods of everyday use like telephone and televisions have all been miniaturized beyond imagination and are on the verge of the next revolution of being invisible (or see through as we may better call it). Our books have shrunk and are largely finding it in hand held gadgets. That large families have shrunk is not a recent trend, but small car for the small nuclear family is a smart and pragmatic marketing concept.

The more buying power we attain the smaller the goods become that we buy. The other day I went o buy a Rs. 5 Munch chocolate and it had miniaturized to the point of rapacious laughter. At the end of the day we will get used to it. The concept of small and cosy has been hard sold to us and projected as the dream of millions.

Sadly enough we as humans have also miniaturized. Our attention span has miniaturized, with us not being able to help but switch channels at the drop of the hat, checking mobile phones every minute or fidgeting with anything around. Our bonding with people have miniaturized, we see people as objects increasingly, only analysing their worth in terms of return of investment (our ‘marketing friends’ are so familiar with the term). The forthcoming generations’ faith in God has miniaturized, their respect for the elder, the institutions have also miniaturized.

While some miniaturizations have changed the world and our personal lives for good, other miniaturizations affecting the core of us human beings have had a contrary effect. And if anything amongst all the miniaturization is getting inflated, it is our egos, corruption, earthquakes, terrorism, unrest, prices, tsunamis, diseases, distances between hearts, and yes last but definitely not the least inflation itself.

(Acknowledgement : Idea of the article is a discussion with Bijay Kumar Barik and Snigdha Mishra)

1 comment:

  1. Had a good laugh at your 'Munch' experience! What really clicked me in this is your note on 'attention span'. So true! And the other values in us. Apart from analyzing the ROI in friends, this miniaturization (love this insanely long word!) has also shrinked the time we used to invest in exploring so many aspects of life. And turned us into the 'virtual-networking'. What goes around, comes around... We all will long to go back to those non-miniaturization days once we will realize the beauty of days we lived.


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