Saturday, March 26, 2016

If you don't hate me already, read this and you will

I don't have a cell phone. I did for a while, lost it, immediately became a happier person and plan to hopefully never have one again. Hopefully!

Mind you, I also had planned not to still drive a car by this point in time and voila... still driving!

I don't think I know a single other person without a cellphone. I honestly can't think of one. And I firmly believe that every single one of you is making a horrendous mistake. What follows is not necessarily linear or an official position or accusation or judgement. It is not precisely essay but rather an honest interpretation. It is one point of view; an exploration of my feelings:

When I see a cell phone I see a device which is using more energy and contributing more to global warming than a refrigerator does. That's right. And how can that be? Because refrigerators don't require the colossal infrastructure that is constantly being manufactured, operated and maintained to support your networks, constantly drawing down the capacity of the biosphere to support oxygen-related life on this planet. That capacity is shrinking every single moment. We are constantly reducing the amount, and crucial diversity, of life on this planet.

When I see a cell phone I see an impossibly miniaturized machine which can only be created by using various rare minerals which this planet contains only in tiny doses and which are extracted in violent desperate wasteful manner, destroying rain forests, exploiting simpler wiser communities of people who wouldn't want a cell phone if you offered it for free, and raising corporate-political corruption resulting in violence and death of innocent lives.

When I see a cellphone I see someone who is ignoring me and stifling a conversation which is now not going to penetrate as deeply into any kind of truth, at least at this point, because that kind of incredibly valuable and tragically rare penetration through the illusions of our lives is not possible without focused sustained thinking or focused sustained conversation.

When I see a cellphone I see someone who is obsessing over the trivialities of life instead of learning the only way we truly learn which is through experience and quiet contemplation of our experience. That doesn't happen in a phone.

When I see a cellphone I see someone obsessed with their reputation and their fears; desperately needing to know immediately who is approving of them and who is not and what people are saying about them and whether their posturing and positioning is holding up and what the latest gossip and information is because they need to be on the leading edge and god forbid, they can't miss out, because they need to be popular and in-the-know!

When I see a cellphone I see someone travelling horizontally through life and not vertically. I see someone connected to others in a shallow non-dimensional context while being entirely disconnected from humanity at the core spiritual level; absorbed in the electrical energy of ones and zeroes and severed from the natural energy of the Earth and its living things.

When I see a cellphone I see someone immersed in the clever realm of intelligence, and not the realm of wisdom. I see someone making life into a kind of video game, choosing limited options, choosing between flawed soundbites of other people's configuring. I see a society so fully plugged in that solitude is finally dead, along with any hope for wisdom; the gradual understanding of the realities behind life's illusions.

When I see a cellphone I am reminded that studies are revealing that industrialized citizens, as individuals, are literally the dumbest people on Earth; losing the ability to think for themselves or to interpret the realities of the natural world which we are intent on destroying anyway.

When I see a cellphone I see someone who has signed off on their unread terms and conditions of their mobile company and apps providers and social web sites; companies who have large full-time staffs devoted to selling your logistical patterns, contact history and yes, actual content to third parties, most significantly to your own government (yes, even in Canada) who is spying on you and using your own tax dollars to do it, and who is in essence swiftly solidifying permanent dictatorial privilege by amassing the means to potentially crush the formation of new challenging parties and to potentially crush the formation of legitimate social protest, the only democratic freedom that matters. This is horrifically astounding, I know, and also beyond debate. The evidence is solid. Even schoolchildren have been arrested and detained for misconstrued twitter and facebook jokes in the USA and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Read your terms and conditions if you don't believe me. They all have a privacy policy which gradually reveals you don't actually have any whatsoever, if you can get past all the imprecise language designed to lull you into perceived innocuousness. Cellphones and internet have become the "screens" of 1984. George Orwell, Gawd bless you. You warned us and we're totally blowing it.

When I see a cellphone I see a societal robot; an obedient product-sponge confirming that the human creature is still hard-wired for slavery and slave-mastering.

When I hear cellphone noises I am distracted from thoughts or conversation which may or may not have been developing toward the next valuable revelation. I will never know. Or I am distracted from valuable connections with the people I love, waiting to see if they have to suddenly give their attention to someone else or not; well aware that they have chosen to leave their phone turned on in my presence because they might hear from someone more important to them than me; or something might come up that is more valuable to them than my time is. This is not an ego thing; just awareness. I'll very happily confess to you when ego things happen!

When I see a cellphone I see someone jumping at their beeps, their dopamine surging, or dipping into a little game while conversation lulls, either way adding another layer of multi-tasking to their daily habits, and who does not understand that when your trifling conscious mind switches attention from one thing to the next and the next and back again, you think that you are concentrating on them one thing at a time but in fact you are not. Your actual brain continues working on all of them simultaneously, long after your surface-attention has shifted, and our brains have not actually evolved yet to handle that properly. You are stressing your brain and it is not performing well for you. You are generating less intelligence and teaching your brain to think less deeply.

When I see a cellphone being used by a young person - up to their early twenties, I am very deeply sorrowful. I know that these multi-tasking problems do far more harm in young people whose brains are still going through the insulation process. I know that the multi-tasking volatility immediately affects the ongoing pruning process which is always attempting to specialize a young brain, and confuses its strategy, causing drastic increases in the severing of neural pathways which never grow back. Multitasking, including typical aggressive cellphone usage, and drugs, as far as I know, are equally harmful in stunting the young brain's potential for growth, sentencing adolescents to a slower-thinking adulthood and a shallower more dependent life than they otherwise might have had. And every parent is eagerly dishing out cellphones to their kids. To me it is a heartbreaking tragedy.

When I see a cell phone I see a device which has swarmed and infected a civilization for a short time and will shortly disappear, leaving a wake of destruction, because planet Earth can simply not support this industry for the entire population of the planet nor can it support our first-world cellphone habit for very long. There are not enough resources available (barring extraterrestrial mining and industry).

When I see a cell phone I am reminded that for the entire human population to have evolved in the manner North America has, granted every privilege up to, and as, vain as cellphones, we would already have had to destroy three planet Earths by now and be well on the way to depleting the fourth planet Earth. That's how fucking special we are! Are you feeling special yet? We only have one by the way. One Earth. In case you didn't know.

When I see a cell phone I see someone who might not be interested in understanding the consequences of what they do, or else someone who might be consumed with self-importance, who has never truly grown up, and still believes the instinctive force inside which assures that you are more important than anyone else and you deserve to have whatever nifty convenience, trifling entertainment or insecurity crutch you want, even if others can't have it, even if it hurts others. What noble selfless work are you trying to achieve in your life that the price we pay for your conveniences is worth it? I have to ask myself that question with regard to things other than cellphones and I certainly don't always like the answer!

When I see someone lose their cellphone, I see the worst panic attacks I have ever witnessed; positively frightening. I presume that horror movie climaxes are created by stealing the actors' cellphones and filming their reactions.

When I see the poorest people I know receive their monthly solitary income from the government, I see them spend the largest share on their phone. And that looks to me like perfect insanity.

When I see a cell phone I see someone who is afraid to be alone; afraid to be left behind. And as with all societal fears, they are products of illusion.

When I see a cell phone I see the saddest side of you.

Poets have told us for more than a thousand years that solitude and reflection are the core of life, our most valuable assets, and our disregard for them is what has sentenced us to existences of illusion and of slow dying, rather than living. In the last eight or so years I have experienced this dual landscape with great awareness. It is unerringly true.

Every time I see a cellphone I see the last nail in the coffin of humanity. I see the evaporation of hope.

Sorry if you're insulted.

Now grow up and stop buying the wicked things. Life happens around you, not in the wires, and you are missing out.


You're probably thinking: "New Day, you miserable bloody hypocrite! I'm going to track you down and strangle your pompous ass for being so *@!%&* self-righteous!"

Well, sure I'm a hypocrite! I have never once claimed I'm not. And I have no doubt I could isolate hypocrisy in every human on Earth if I tried. I eat innocent cows. I drive a car. I operate a laptop computer. I take hot showers. I sign my terms and conditions on fucking Google. Yes. I contribute to harmful things too. I totally confess. I do them because I can't figure out how to accomplish the good things I want to accomplish without certain tools or because I haven't developed the strength to let go of some of these things yet, or because I feel trapped in a society of rigid structures where it's near impossible to avoid these things or to access alternatives. I hope I can become stronger and become better and more benign. It's a struggle.

Understand me please. We're all in this together, however we deal with the extraordinary privileges we have claimed in this society, which are not, and have not been available to 99.9% of the humans in history, and how we justify it or how we suppress the dark realities behind it, or else remain blissfully ignorant as the case may be. It so happens I have drawn a line somewhere and it happens to be the cellphone, and thus the cellphone is a constant reminder of the problem at large for which I am also to blame. That is all.

Still, cell phones are something I know I can do without and I'm confident that you could too. However, if you now want to run out and buy a new cellphone just to spite me, please choose wisely and consider your poor giblets:


J Lenni Dorner said...

J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge - where I am part of Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
April should be exciting. I'm looking forward to the event. Best of luck to us both on meeting our goals of posting and hopping to other blogs.
My blog has a giveaway. There's a bonus a to z challenge each day to encourage people to visit more stops.

This is a very interesting commentary. I agree with you on several points. But I'm weird. I was only talked into carrying one so I could text people for help in an emergency situation. (Which, with my body, comes up more often than I care to admit.) Still, I go on vacation every year in May for a few days... and it doesn't come with, because it won't work where I go. (I already had the lecture about how reckless this is last year when I landed in the hospital thanks to my need to disconnect. Guess who's gonna do it again this year anyway? *raises hand* Yeah.)

martine said...

Wow, a very brave polemic, and very well argued. They said the same things about television of course, and pretty much every other thing that humans have invented, but I agree that there seems to be something particularly insidious about mobile phones. I have what me and my daughter refer to as a 'stupid phone' that only texts and calls, I don't want to have my time sucked away, I wish I was brave enough to do without it.