Monday, October 11, 2004

leave a message for lord humungus at the beep

call me a luddite, but i do not want a cell phone. friends and family put the constant full-court pressure on this issue, but something about the notion of being constantly reachable has always seemed less than ideal to me. sunday's NYT put a fraction of that bigger discomfort into perspective:

There is no question that instant access to a phone can save lives. People report fires and robberies, heart attacks and car crashes; parents keep tabs on children; grown children stay in touch with elderly parents. Knowing that you can always call for help in an emergency makes people feel safer.

But they also tether people more closely and constantly to others, and in recent months a growing number of experts have identified and begun to study a distinct downside in that: cellphone use may be making us less autonomous and less capable of solving problems on our own, even when the answers are right in front of us.

According to Christine Rosen, a senior editor at the journal New Atlantis and the author of "Our Cellphones, Ourselves," a recent article exploring the social effects of the mobile phone, the ease of obtaining instant advice encourages cellphone users to respond to any uncertainty, crucial or trivial, by dialing instead of deciding. The green sweater or the blue, pizza or Chinese, the bridge or the tunnel - why take responsibility for making up your own mind when you can convene a meeting in a minute?

"Cellphones foster a curious dependency," Ms. Rosen said. "The cellphone erodes something that is being obliterated in American society: self-reliance."

i couldn't agree more. there's something to be said for the adventure of figuring out what to order your spouse for dinner, where exactly you're supposed to meet someone, and getting a little lost. i dont doubt that cell phones are the future, and in my future, but at least for awhile, i'll choose unreachability and the chance to do it myself.

- LH


At October 11, 2004 at 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on!!! Sell phones suck. The stupidification of American society has only quickened (if that's possible from where we started) with the widespread use of sell phones. Yeah! You guys are the best blog ever!

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