Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fear and my cell phone

Slowly, every so slowly, I’m developing a troubling, but under-examined relationship with my cell phone.

This little slab of circuitry is beginning to engender fears in me.

“What if?” fears.

What if I should find myself in a situation where I need it? Having it “on me” makes me feel marginally safer.

In the morning, when I consider whether I should hook my LG VX 5500 to my belt, I imagine dangerous situations I would never have thought of as recently as three years ago.

Sure, the cell phone can be a convenience, but my primal reason for having it is fear, a fear I never had before.

Increasingly I’m not even considering the option of leaving it at home. I am making my cell phone a “necessity” in a world that is suddenly more threatening — at least in my cell-phone state of mind.

My cell phone is changing me. I am less trusting. Without it I feel less safe. Some might even say “anxious.” Could Valium be in my future?

Did the cell phone’s inventors intend to make us fearful of our world? How about the manufacturers?

I’m sure fear is part of the marketing mix. (Also, being friendly, open, available and "successful"— which, in their own way, are causes for anxiety.)

We need cell phone-free days as reminders that the world is a kinder place than our cell phones would have us believe. (We also need a break to remind ourselves that we are friendly, open, available and “successful” even without cell phones — in the "old" face-to-face world.)

When strap on my cell phone, I occasionally wonder about those with concealed weapons. How do they feel as they holster their revolvers in the morning? Fully armed, how do they see the world?

Like cell phones, technology is not neutral. It changes us. We must continually study and be aware of how.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting observation. I think you might be onto something. It still feels safer though, to have my trusty Tracfone in the glove compartment wherever I go. Just for the 'What if?'

2:12 AM  

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