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I recently read an article about a poll taken by a major US publication that stated that they polled 5,000 people in 8 countries in which 84% of them said that they could not go a day without their cell phone.
Personally, I can't help but find this horrifying, particularly since some of these 5,000 people polled admitted to not having access to running water or an indoor toilet.
The ramifications of the poll are pretty much mind boggling to someone like myself. Obviously, I'm some kind of knuckle dragging simpleton because I have no problem going a day without a phone but I have gone more than a day due to frozen pipes without running water or a working toilet and I feel confident in my firm belief that the water and toilet trump the phone hands down.
Don't get me wrong, I have a cell phone, which I use so sparingly that I sometimes forget that I have it at all. It rings so seldom that it often ends up dying before I ever even look at it. It is good in an emergency, but I have yet to have to use it in one. I suppose if I ever do I'll be glad I have it, if I have remembered to charge it. I like my computer too, but I've done without it for a day more than once without unraveling like a cheap sweater.
This apparent addiction we have to cell phones has evolved with lightning speed. I don't know exactly when having a cell phone became a standard thing, but, relatively speaking, I don't think it was that long ago. In terms of human history it might very well be unprecedented. Ancient Roman civilization lasted well over 1,000 years and at the end of it they were still using the same basic sword that they used to start conquering people at the beginning of it. The advancement of technology has grown exponentially since then and at the speed of light since the beginning of the 20th century and our addiction to it has more than kept the pace. I suspect that it takes longer to become addicted to heroin than a cell phone these days and it seems to have become our drug of choice.
I have to wonder if this state of affairs bothers anyone other than myself. While it pains me to say it, I have my doubts. It bothers me that there are people living without clean or running water and indoor plumbing, but it appears to bother them a lot more to contemplate living without their cell phones. It would seem that the world has gone mad. In all fairness, it may have happened a long time ago and I just missed it; I'm like that. There a bunch of things to which I prefer to pay no attention whatsoever. I find it helpful in retaining my personal sanity.
I went looking for a personal phone book the other day, you remember, the kind in which you wrote down a bunch of important phone numbers, addresses, and pertinent information for easy reference. I was told by a rather sneery young person in a store that no one uses them any more. He said this in a tone which suggested that I was some kind of slow moving, small-brained dinosaur who was too stupid to figure it out for myself and therefore, doomed to certain and imminent extinction. Only my good manners and rigid self-discipline prevented me from giving the little twit a good slap, which I'm pretty sure still works the way it used to back before the wheel was invented. The cheeky little techno-slave deserved it, for sure.
That is what we have all become – techno-slaves, indentured to our own creations with no hope of freedom or salvation. The irony is that these things that we own that now own us are merely tools that we have somehow made into gods, and they are gods that could come crashing down to earth with alarming ease. These are not gods that reside in indestructible splendor on some impossible mountain or in the faraway stars. Our new gods exist at the whim of our other technology and can be destroyed by some clever 15 year old kid living in a village with no running water or indoor plumbing. That's something worth pondering for a moment or two.
Scientists generally agree that the greatest danger facing the world at the moment is the irrefutable fact that we are rabidly running out of fresh water and that by the middle of the century substantially more than half the world will be in water distress. Take a look at California and that should become glaringly obvious. When the world begins to run out of drinkable water I doubt if technology will have advanced sufficiently that those 84% will be able to get one from their phones. It's all good though. We can may be able to live less than a day without our phones but we can live 72 hours without water.
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