In college I broke my phone. I could not get a replacement for a couple weeks. So that meant no apps on my phone. It meant no web browsing on my phone. It even meant no calling or texting. If my parents needed to talk to me, they had to call one of my friends. Those weeks were absolutely wonderful.
Now I have a new cell phone where I essentially have no data. I have wifi at home and work, so I will have no problem getting on my phone a lot. But it’s still different. When walking into a grocery store I instinctively went to pull up a website on my phone. I couldn’t. So I had to simply be present.
Pascal said something like all of the world’s problems stem from the fact that we cannot be alone in a room with no distractions. I read a lot but even I feel weird when I don’t have my phone on me while reading. If it buzzes, I feel the incessant need to look at it. Sometimes it buzzes but I check and there was no notification. I imagined the buzzing.
We will all make jokes about our technology use. Yeah, I need a break from facebook. Or I’m totally on my phone too much. The tv is frying the kids’ brains. And so on. Yet we do nothing. And if you suggest that maybe we actually should take steps, like maybe it’s not good to joke about being enslaved while continuing in enslavement, then good luck being taken seriously. That’s what addiction is like, you lash out at those trying to liberate you. Isn’t that the story of the exodus and life of Jesus, after all?
So we stay plugged in. We began by using technology, but now it’s using us. We are slaves by choice.