Our dangerous and untested way of living

We’ve come so far in the last decade or two, it’s almost impossible to remember what life was like pre-Internet. So when I stumbled across this article from 15 years ago, about the changing face of travel agencies, I couldn’t help but shake my head in wonder.

It was only a decade and a half ago, but back then, travel agents processed a whopping 90% of all flight purchases. “Internet bookings now account for around 10 percent of total airfare transactions”, the article warned ­– and travel agencies accustomed to fat commission cheques were all the worse for it.

The article is an interesting read, if for no other reason than to learn how much travel agents used to pocket for simply entering a few passenger details!


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But it also shows just much we have transitioned to rely on the internet for everything these days.

Our travel research and flight bookings. Our banking. Our food ordering (even groceries). Our socialising with friends. It all happens online now and while it’s undoubtedly convenient to have access to these immediate resources, it’s also an untested way of living.

I mean, have you every wondered: what impact does it have on our psyche to be able to do anything (and everything), at any time of the day (and night)?

Reading an article recently by Hossein Derakhshan, who was imprisoned for 6 years in Tehran for online activism and found social media confoundingly different upon his release, opened my eyes to the impact that social media alone can have on our mental wellbeing.

Social media, he argues, uses algorithms to encourage your comfort levels, because its entire business model is built upon maximising the time users spend in it. You catch more bees with honey than flies, right?

“[The internet] now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges,” Hossein says.

This in incredibly dangerous model promotes narrow thinking, and is what led Donald Trump to U.S. Presidential victory.

But all is not lost! Hossein offers a number of strategies here to counteract the slippery slope we’re on, but basically, it all boils down to this: “We should write and read more, link (to thought-provoking articles) more often, watch less television and fewer videos – and spend less time on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.”

Your ongoing mental health will thank you for it!

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