Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Quickies: At Last Recognition Is Taking Place

     First, watch the following video. I don’t want to hear any demurrers. I'll permanently block anyone who comments that “I don’t watch videos.” A smartphone addict who says such a thing is merely caricaturing himself. Watch it:

     It appears that the world just might be catching on...and catching up with me.

     Second, let me get it out: I told you so. All of you with smartphones glued to your hands, who can’t look away from the screen long enough to greet your spouse when he comes home from work...or your spouse when you get home from work...or your parents when you finally return home from school, or soccer practice, or wherever.

     You are not functioning as a self-aware, volitional being invested with the awesome powers of evaluation and choice. You’ve surrendered that estate and are being led around by a device. You are being programmed. (You may take it as gospel that I know something about programming.)

     You are not alive, by the standards that properly apply to human life. You’re a robot. Less, really: you’re a mechanism walking a treadmill. You have the power to turn it off and dismount...but you won’t use it.

     Is this contentment...or enslavement?

     Third, it’s time for those of us who care to act.

     Yes, I’ve written about this before. The subject is too important to allow it to rest after one screed, or a dozen of them.

     It’s not just about the deterioration in the prevailing level of courtesy. It’s not just about drivers causing accidents by texting while driving...or pedestrians getting hit by cars as they scroll through their Facebook notifications while crossing the street. It’s about the gift of life itself.

     If you’re not fully attentive to what’s immediately around you, you’re not a functioning human being. The state of “absent presence” – physically in locale A, but attention on separate “locale” B – makes you highly vulnerable. Others will make your choices for you, and you won’t even be aware that it’s happening. You’re not capable even in theory of looking after yourself.

     Time was, everyone grasped this. You wouldn’t be allowed out of the house without a minder if you didn’t.

     Fourth and last, here’s the program:

  • No smartphone usage at meals. No excuses shall be made for anyone.
  • No smartphone for anyone who doesn’t pay rent. Time to get tough, Mom and Dad.
  • No smartphone usage in any social setting, whether it’s a massive party or a single dinner guest.
  • No accepting a smartphone as a condition of employment. It’s a collar attached to a digital leash, and you know it.
  • And need I say this? Zero tolerance is to be extended to anyone who dares to break any of the above rules. If he needs his fix more than he needs you, get rid of him.

     You get one life. Don’t let a device designed to enslave you take it away.

Be Here Now.

     (Applause to CM Blake for the video.)


LordSomber said...

"No using the phone at the dinner table" was a rule long before mobile phones.

In restaurants, I've seen parents overlook their kids fussing with their phone.
I've also seen kids sadly staring at their father fussing with a phone.

Poor parenting, either way.

sykes.1 said...

Well, I did watch the video, and the point about device addiction is a good one. But the vast majority of people are not capable of "functioning as a self-aware, volitional being[s]..." That they are self-medicating using machines is probably better than self-medicating using opiates.

Never, in our entire evolutionary history has a majority of people functioned as self-aware, volitional beings. That condition has always been the possession of the few.

JWM said...

Don't have one. Won't get one. I have a crappy flip phone and most of the calls I get are solicitors. (HATEHATEHATE) What really gives me the bone chill is watching toddlers thumbling those little screens as they sit in strollers. Moms love it. Works better than a little laudanum for keeping the baby quiet.


Linda Fox said...

I have to disagree with sykes.1.

Just about every human on Earth is capable of functioning as a self-aware, volitional being (exception for the profoundly retarded, seriously mentally disturbed, or those suffering from dementia).

The rest of us have no excuse - it is a CHOICE.

I know. I've fallen into mindless, time-occupying consumption of media. Sometimes, books. Or TV. Or - now - social media and blogs.

That's not real life.

Only in very rare crisis times - when the information might make the difference between life and death - is that an acceptable option.

We all have our 'wanna veg out' moments. For me, if I'm sick, binge TV is the perfect prescription. It takes my mind off how crappy I feel, and let's me avoid the daytime sleeping mode that might keep me up all night.

Right now, I'm spending too much passive time, as I've had an ankle healing a stress fracture. And, as a result of the over-use of my OTHER leg, I'm also experiencing an extremely painful knee, which is severely limiting my mobility.

Part of that is I've been unable to do much serious writing (not blog posts, which don't require the same level of mental functioning). I'll be seeing a doctor next week, and hope to get some answers on how to heal.

This is me. But, for many other people, the overuse of media is a symptom of their underlying malaise. They are in crisis, tormented by:
- lack of true friends
- fractured families
- sterile environments
- poor health, eating habits, and lack of exercise

It's probably a feedback loop. If you're unhappy with some part of your life, you turn to media. The overuse of media impacts the quality of other parts of your life.

There should be a setting on your phone to 'wake up' when a truly important call comes in. Otherwise, turn it off.

And go for a walk.

Linda Fox said...

About that 'go for a walk' thing? Which, I can't.

That's what is causing my uncharacteristic lassitude right now.

Wayne said...

I remember a restaurant in Middleton, WI. They had a whiteboard in the lobby:

"NO. We DONT have WiFi. TALK to each other."

JC said...

Went to lunch with a buddy, he said 'there are some folks you might like to meet'. 8 top at a Chinese place. Every one was on his phone all the time. I said 'fuck it' and walked home. 12 miles.

Shark said...

My employer issued to me and requires that I possess a smartphone, therefore I possess one. I rarely turn it on...oops! Hilarity ensues...

Cederq said...

I refuse to date a woman that has a smart phone on her. I have had women unable to believe that I wouldn't give them the time of day over that. Sure, I have a flip phone, it stays in the truck and never goes with me into any place and people that know me know I will not talk long and will cut them off if they start to chat...