Confessions of a Phone Junkie

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The tyranny of the phone keeps me restrained with all the stuff I think I need. Like the diary, social media, GPS, the internet, an app for everything. It’s like having the perfect friend that takes care of my every need. How can I work or travel or stay in touch without it and it won’t let me go without a fight. It just keeps promising more apps, more games, more stuff to keep me hooked. As if it took over a small part of my brain without asking by promising me the world.

The phone dealers have the perfect product better than booze or crack or dope or TV and they sell it to children and adults alike. It links us to the world better than the meagre senses I was born with. I got a taste for one back before the smart phones. Just a simple text mind you and it felt good to send that text because I could send a message without having a conversion, then came the smart phones and then I got a few likes on my social media and that felt good. Jobs promised everything and I got one, thinking I owned the phone but it owns me now and I’m completely hooked like everyone else. I think it might be time to let go or at least take a break every now and then. It might be the healthy thing to do. What could go wrong?

I left mine behind today when I walked to the shops to check the mail and it felt like I was leaving a part of myself behind. I was worried something disastrous would happen if I didn’t take it along. The separation anxiety was real. I was like a junkie trying to kick the habit and thinking of excuses for another fix. ‘One little taste won’t hurt.’ I imagined how bad life would be without it.

But I didn’t give in and left for the shops and as I walked along I felt a longing to have it with me. I felt like I wasn’t fully dressed or I’d forgotten to wear pants or something. I wondered who I’d miss, who I could have called. I was anxious that I would miss something. That life for that brief time wouldn’t be as good. I kept going and in no time I had forgotten about it sitting at home on the dresser and the withdrawals didn’t last long as I began to focus on the street and the trees and the people around me.

I’d left it behind despite the anxiety, despite the excuses and all the reasons to take it along. I’d taken those first few steps on my own. I saw others with theirs crossing the street but they didn’t see me. Looking into their screens, oblivious to the traffic and everyone else. It felt good. There was no weight in my pocket, no concern for social media, for that brief time I was free. Disconnected with the phone but connected with my surroundings.

I’m a phone addict of course, it has me hooked and going cold turkey could be unbearable. Right? How would I cope? My social life would be worse that during a covid lockdown. I’d be an outcast, a dunce. The phone stays with me night and day. It sits at my bedside waiting for me to pick it up in the morning. It reminds me when to sleep and when to wake up.

What would happen if I got rid of it? Would my wife leave me? Would my friends give up on me? Would I get fired. Would the sky fall? Perhaps it would all come crashing down?

Yet we give these to kids.

 

For the Greater Good

black birds on tomb stonesWhy do we save lives? Why do we care?

We care because it makes us feel good or we empathise, it could be us failing to breath in a hospital bed. Dying of malaria or the coronavirus or cancer. It could someone we love, our family or friend. Because it would be inhumane not to care, right?

Why do we care so much about the countless lives at risk of disease or famine in Africa or the Middle East on the one hand and take lives in war when it suits us. It’s for the greater good but is it? Who are we to decide who lives or dies?

The worlds population is increasing at an exponential rate. Soon there won’t be any wild spaces left because there won’t be enough room. Who suffers? Not just the plants and animals but we do. Imagine living in a world were there are no trees. No wild animals. It could be the future. Who can tell? But saving lives matters. Right! As long as it’s human lives. Why not let people die? Why do we have to cure every decease. Isn’t providing a future world with wild and green spaces, clean oceans, with diverse animal species and clean air, a world worth living in, also for the greater good?

Imagine a child in a future school looking at pictures of lions and zebras and elephants and elks or trees. All extinct. That’s not the greater good. That sucks. But we are getting there fast. According to an article in National Geographic by Christine Dell’Amore, published in 2013, there were 20000 species near extinction at that time and that was seven years ago. And it’s only getting worse. Those extinction rebellion protestors may look like fools gluing themselves to the ground and blocking traffic but aren’t we the fools for ignoring them?

Species become extinct mostly due to loss of habitat. Basically because of us. So why are we so desperate to save every human life from famine, war or disease? It could be said that disease is natures way of striking a balance. Why not let nature take care of the planet for a change.

It’s our human nature to fight each other, but now we have nukes so no-one wants to risk it so we haven’t had a world-war for seventy five years now and the last major pandemic before the coronavirus was in 1919. Yet we are happy to risk the lives of our youth by sending them to fight in other wars for political or economic gain. They serve their country and die for the greater good, apparently. Wouldn’t it be valid to let people die for the greater good of the planet. For the future of our children and theirs.

Pollution levels across they globe are the lowest they have been for years. Nature is fighting back. But only because we are in lockdown and nature has some breathing space. So why not save the planet by letting people die.

Why save human lives at the expense of all others. What makes us so important? What about the greater good.