The hell and the New Year’s Eve are full of good intentions.
For my part, I tend to make radical decisions that will make my days more relaxed and allow me to spend more time with family and friends, having meals at the right time, sleeping at least six hours a night, attending fewer patients, spending fewer hours on airports and on same-day return trips to cities thousands of miles away.
In the 1960s, I attended a panel discussion at the medical school, where a group of professors of the University of São Paulo discussed a hot topic at that time: “Work in the Year 2000.”
As the debaters predicted technological advances and machines that would do most of the human work, the concern was what to do with the downtime of 21st century workers to counteract the sense of worthlessness that would lead them to psychiatric disorders and alcoholism.
I did not take long to see the misconception of these and other predictions about the millennium that we are living. The opposite happened: the evolution of technology has only brought us more work. Every built-in invention has made our leisure hours slimmer.
In the late 1980s, during a hospital internship in the United States I saw a fax machine.
I was amazed.
A medical report sent from Los Angeles arrived in New York in a magic spell. As soon as I could, I bought a set and installed it at home.
In a few weeks, the room was invaded by rolls of paper that gushed from the waterfall machine, with the results of exams sent by the analysis laboratories. I had to wake up early to take care of them.
Then came the computer, the internet and e-mail, unbelievable inventions that retired typewriters, revolutionized access to information, and condemned the fax to obsolescence. But who could have imagined that email would become the stressful scourge of life today?
Then, Lucifer, the fallen angel who watches everything in his daily task of attacking women and men, invented the cell phone.
It was the size of a big shoe, but I was amazed again. Goodbye to the beep and to the pocket full of coins to go after the public phones when he played.
The success of the invention has encouraged the industry to produce ever-compact models so as to facilitate transportation to all corners near the user’s body.
Then, Satan who was still watching, he created a trap more evil than hell: the screen of the cell phone.
I found the most, now I had the world in my hands: WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and the devil who carries it.
Inadvertently, I fell into the Dog’s clutches. The person sends me an email and transfers his problem to me. As there is no need to get to a computer to respond, in ten minutes she sends me a WhatsApp: “Did not you see my email?”. Needless to pretend I did not get the message, she will see the two little sticks on the screen.
There, an unoccupied person includes me in a group. So as not to hurt the other participants, I’m not happy to leave. The result: my days are populated by kittens, giving good morning, idyllic music landscapes, thoughts worthy of the Seicho-No-Ie calendars, cretin jokes, slander and absurd rumors proclaimed as universal truth.
This cyberbully accelerates and stresses everyday, but increases work efficiency.
For that reason, it is easy to predict that the next technological advances will serve to make us work more and more, in a crazed spiral that will rob us of the rest of the leisure we still enjoy.
In compensation, you will say, dear reader, today we are much more competent.
It is true.
I would be unable to meet half of my commitments.
I would have stopped my work and would have lived moments of personal fulfillment, joy and happiness. Despite the regrets, hooray for the future!
Antônio Drauzio Varella (São Paulo, May 3, 1943), is a Brazilian oncologist, scientist and writer, graduated from the University of São Paulo (USP), where he was approved in 2nd place, known for popularizing medical information in Brazil, through appearances in radio programs, TV and the Internet, with a site and channel on Youtube