It came to me in the middle of the night why we are, on the whole, so afraid, so desperately looking for someone to take care of us, so unable to make decisions, so welcoming of the Nanny State, so self-absorbed, so full of doubt, and so perpetually distressed.
It’s cell phones.
A massive change came about when parents could be in contact with their children 24/7, and the same held true in business and personal relationships. Before cell phones, you could be out of touch with someone for days or weeks at a time, and you wouldn’t freak out. After cell phones, if a teenager went radio silent for 10 minutes, parents inevitably feared the worst.
Cell phones fostered a need for constant contact and a state of constant worry. Technologies such as GPS phone tracking put us in even closer contact. For children, employees, and spouses, it’s hard to develop a sense of independence when people are looking over their shoulder 24/7. And without a sense of independence, we cannot appreciate the value of freedom and the necessity of thinking and acting based on our own observations, learning, and analysis.
The situation is poised to worsen drastically as people embrace health-monitoring phone apps. Yes, these apps provide valuable help, but that help comes with a terrible downside.
What will we do with our time when we can checkout heart rate 24/7, and our EKG, and our blood pressure, and our microbiome? Ever more inward we will look, ever more worried we will become. Impending physical doom — an excellent mindset indeed for the pharmaceutical industry, but also a mindset that makes building a confident, independent character impossible.
The cell phones are doing the real thinking. We have become the apps.
(Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons)