Call Me

Captain Kirk on hiscommunicator

A quirk of fate left me with no personal electronic devices whatsoever last Friday. I had no I Pad, no IPhones, no Google Google’s.. no Kindle or the like, I had nothing…not even my dumb phone which was at home. It was just me..my observations and my notebook. I must admit I don’t own any of the before mentioned list of gadgets, except the dumb phone-…I  have that..a stupid phone.
So it wasn’t a big deal when I boarded the Max headed toward Beaverton without a gadget or prop.
I sat in a backward facing seat and braced myself for the long tunnel…

The Robertson Tunnel is the MAX Light Rail tunnel that runs through the west hills of Portland, Oregon. There is one station within the tunnel at Washington Park, which at 79 meters deep is the deepest subway station in the United States and the fifth deepest in the world. It’s almost three miles long and takes five minutes pass through. It is cold, dark and loud…

As we travel faster and faster there erupts a high-pitched scream that echoes off the stone walls. This makes for an unnerving and uncomfortable ride for the passengers. Most try to sit there stoically and pretend nothing is going on while we ride it out. A few cover their ears. I am one of the larger stoic group. The unusually long five minutes pass and then it is over. We emerge out of the tunnel. The sky opens up and there is a collective sigh of relief…

…and then everyone is back at their screens. There are some books or newspapers and a few smallish laptops but mostly is what I once heard referred to of as “a bar of soap”; a personal electronic device that fits neatly into the human hand, becoming really an extension of it. A device that many of us seem to be transfixed on and obsessed with a good portion of our time.

cell phone people

According to edtechmagazine.com

84% of Cell phone owners report they could not go a single day without their device and 44% of them confess to having slept with their phone nearby because they didn’t want to miss a notification.

A bit extreme, but common. Becoming addicted to your phone has become such a real condition that experts have given it a name: “Nomophobia” (no-mobile-phone-phobia).

I know this is a world-wide phenomena. It is amazing how much things have changed in the last twenty years . I am old enough to remember what it was like before everyone was “plugged in” I suppose I use the term “plugged in” a bit sharply. I myself am writing this on a laptop and you are reading it on some sort of device.

It cannot be denied how electronic communications have changed the world for good and bad and that nebulous in-between region that we are unsure of until it passes and becomes history. Time will tell how this will effect the future world and how humanity reacts to and with itself.

cell phone cyborg eye-500x375

Often we must give up something to gain something…and in this there is no exception.

In our modern connected world we are tuned in to the hum of the network and the buzz of the instantaneous all knowing all hearing web. We can converse and share with others all over the world in real-time. Never has the human race been so connected. Connected in a cerebral Ethernet. A system that has a collective “mind” of its own.

Of course nothing ever is all black or white..

mount tabor tree view

Never have we as a species been so disconnected to our true nature, ourselves and each other….and to our planet..  Many immerse themselves exclusively in temperature controlled artificial environments, driving from one place to another in an air-conditioned fossil fuel burning car.

Why ever leave the “comfort” of the indoors?

cell phonest1larg_cellphones_ts

Why strike up a conversation with a stranger on the train when you can stare at your screen and get those thumbs going. I’ve noticed and I can’t be the only one to see that people seem to use their electronic device as a social barrier,,as some sort of protection in a world where increasingly social intimacy with your fellow person isn’t as important anymore…..and isn’t too kosher.  The world is a dangerous place. It is easier and sometimes safer to just keep to yourself and look as disinterested as can be.

invasionofthebodysnatchers-poster1-halfsheet

I am reminded of the classic Science Fiction tales of the 50’s, 60’s where beings from outer space or some unknown alien force takes over humanity in subtle and not so subtle ways.

This whole thing reminds me of just that. The entity, that thing or phenomena…whatever you call it….be it the web, the internet , the screen. the hive mind or the collective or the big stupid distraction, whatever it is…..this THING is taking over.

org Picture-1

Social realities are changing. People tune each other out almost to the point where they pretend each other isn’t there. It seems there is some unwritten law that you can completely ignore your fellow human. As long as you pretend you cannot see one another, as long as you don’t look at each other in the eye. Once you look at another person in the eye, is it is too late and now you are socially obligated to acknowledge each other.  Perhaps to the point of greeting and maybe even.. gasp….conversation.

It makes me wonder what the future brings…

I suppose on occasion I will endeavor to put my dumb phone away. It fits nicely into the zippered pocket of my purse and maybe every once in a while I’ll just forget it all together…

Have a splendid rest of your day…

Strawberryindigo.

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Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

References and Related Articles

Impressive statistics about mobile device use (edtechmagazine.com)

Shocking Ways Your Cell Phone Is Hurting Your Health (fitnessmagazine.com)

Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone? (psychologytoday.com)

Cell Phone Addiction Hits Shocking Levels Reveals Morningside Recovery (prweb.com)

Cell phone scare for men: Don’t hold your phone with your private parts (junkscience.com)

Cell phones in the classroom (hellandnicole.wordpress.com)

The Culture of Want

Credit: Public Domain
Gold is Yummy! Credit: Public Domain

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy”.

~Eric Hoffer

We are taught by this culture to want and want it now and no matter what we get, we are never satisfied. Our economy is built on our rampant consumption of everything; this intense overpowering feeling to want it all, to have it all.

And all this having and wanting leads to high expectations that for most of us are never fulfilled. It’s as if our society sets us up for disappointment.

consumerism Gianni-Versace-home-3
“Home” Sweet “Home” Credit Public Domain

There are certain ideals set before us, by media, by government, by our peers and by society in general. We are expected to live up to these impossibly high and unrealistic standards. If we do not we are deemed a failure. I think much of these expectations are top-heavy and backward. Much emphasis is placed on high status careers and wealth.  Wealth that is quickly spent on expensive items as fancy cars, houses that are much too large, expensive and exotic vacations and trendy gadgets. I marvel at the lines people are willing to wait in to pay exorbitantly high prices just to get themselves  the newest “I” somethings. We are expected not only to keep up with the “Joneses” but to outdo the “Joneses” at every twist and turn and then rub their noses in it. People are expected to lead these “full” lives with as many over the top experiences one can muster. We are also expected to remain forever and impossibly young in this culture while the natural process of aging is frowned upon and is seen a detriment.

Shallow untalented celebrities are held up as an ideal to aspire to. The news of their lives are featured as the top stories of the day. We place these people on high pedestals and then watch with relish as they crash and burn all in front of the unblinking eye of the media.

Kim Kardashian
Credit: Public Domain… Kim Kardashian, What is she famous for? Someone please tell me, I really don’t know…

Our young people have no other role models nothing to aspire to except more of this flashy shallowness. The family unit is deteriorating and our common sense of home and well-being is being put through the shredder. It is no wonder that many are depressed and suffer from mental illnesses and addictions.

As a society we are searching for something. A something we know we lack and we pretend we haven’t a clue about what or where it is. We are losing ourselves and what makes us great.

Those ideas and ideals, those which helped us become who we were in a golden age that now seems so distant. Those ideals of family and hard work and patience. Of perseverance, wisdom and respect. The importance of generosity and understanding, kindness and love. These are the ideals we should aspire to. These are the values that are truly valuable.

I don’t have to tell anyone this. We all know this. In the back of our minds, in our hearts and souls, I just think we need to be reminded once in a while…

consumerism1
Credit: Public Domain

…and while I stand on this soapbox, shouting to whoever will hear me…I realise that  I am for the most part, preaching to the converted. We are an enlightened bunch who swim in the deepest end of the pool, we in this community of bloggers…but I bet we know others who may not swim in such deep waters. It is up to us to inspire those who may need a little inspiring and a bit of encouragement now and then. Perhaps lead by example and do some preaching ourselves.

We are a part of a society at large and although we may not participate fully in this consumermania and celebrity obsession we do have an influence over those who do.

It is up to those who are enlightened to help light the way for the rest of us.

Strawberryindigo.

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

“It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.” 
~Ken Kesey

**Related articles**

Travie McCoy: Billionaire ft. Bruno Mars [OFFICIAL VIDEO] (youtube)

*I admit I actually like this song*

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How to Stop Keeping Up With the Joneses (cashnetusa.com)

Keeping up with the Joneses in Suburbia (suburbo-types.com)

The Crisis of American Consumerism (Huffingtonpost.com)

Celebrity Worship Syndrome (Wikipedia)

Fresh Quotes for JUNE: Rich and Poor

Nobody knows you when you’re down and out

**Jimmie Cox  1923 (song)**

“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime”

**Aristotle ( 384 B.C.)**

“With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches, which in their eye is never so complete as when they appear to possess those decisive marks of opulence which nobody can possess but themselves.”

**Adam Smith ( 1776)**

“YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO SKINNY OR TOO RICH.”

**Barbara Paley (Socialite) 1915-1978**

“If the rich could hire others to die for them, the poor could make a nice living.”

**Yiddish Saying**

“The art of becoming rich…is not absolutely nor finally the art of accumulating much money for ourselves, but also of contriving that our neighbors should have less. In accurate terms, it is the art of establishing the maximum inequality in our own favor.”

**John Ruskin (1860)**

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA
Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A POOR MAN IS DESPISED THE WHOLE WORLD OVER.”

**Jerome K. Jerome (1892)**

Disparity of rich and poor in Rio de Janeiro
Disparity of rich and poor in Rio de Janeiro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the house of have and the house of want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent.”

**Henry George (1879)**

… just a little food for thought…

Strawberryindigo.