This week we have from our Purple Community a guest contributor. Boxy is a retired teacher now living in Cornwall. He is very active, healthy and extremely fit. He owns no technology apart from a phone connected to a landline and an ordinary television: no microwave, computer and certainly not a smartphone. Read his blog to find out why he thinks we should all put our mobiles away to avoid turning to a mushy Beige!
If you want to challenge this view; if you believe the genie is out of the box and can never be put back; that mobile technology is a Purple boon to modern life, then use the reply function or email contact@daretobepurple with a 1000 words on why a mobile is an essential aid and we’ll post it on your behalf.
Mobile Phones: A vision of Hell!
I have never owned a mobile phone and cannot imagine that I ever will. It is not a Luddite stance against the march of technology and the explosion of social media. It is a lifestyle choice and I can remember vividly the moment when this resolve first manifested itself.
My wife and I were on holiday in Tuscany and Umbria nearly 20 years ago. The mobile phone was not common in Britain then; I’m not even sure if I’d seen one ever used, but it was the last word in cool sophistication in Italy, particularly amongst the affluent young. It was the Rubik cube for twenty something fashionistas, the loomband for the electronic generation.
We were in a smart restaurant and at a large circular table next to us were some of the beautiful people. They should have been flirting, flaunting their wit and repartee or engaged in a heated political debate. Instead, they ignored each other, preferring to play with their new phones, which rang constantly. It seemed they only wanted to interact with those who weren’t there. It was a glimpse of the future. It was a vision of hell.
Now, many years, later, I am unable to call home when I’m away. My wife doesn’t worry. She knows that the handful of public telephones still on the street are either vandalised or out of order. No-one reports this state of affairs because everyone has a mobile. Sometimes friends say, “I couldn’t get hold of you”. That’s OK, I don’t want to be at your beck and call. I don’t want to answer a phone when I’m fishing or watching day three of a cricket match or walking along a coastal footpath. Ah, but what would happen if I broke my ankle on such a walk? I don’t know, but we didn’t wait to enjoy a little solitude until the mobile phone was invented. Would I get a signal anyway? And let’s face it, a life without risk is no life at all.
Think of the benefits I enjoy. I do not demean myself by taking ‘selfies’. I will not step in front of a lorry whilst I’m tweeting some inanity. On trains and buses I will actually speak to people or I can read a book or newspaper instead of receiving news that someone I’ve never even met has just added a second spoonful of sugar to his latte. No one will show me their disrespect by texting to say they are “running late” and will arrive 15 minutes after the time we had prearranged for our rendezvous. That of course is another function of the mobile. It is a licence to never have to be on time.
As these devices become smarter and smarter they facilitate our descent into a state of childlike ignorance and helplessness. Hurray! We no longer need to know anything. There’s an app to help you find the pub, identify a bird, tie a shoelace. If you don’t know something don’t bother trying to work it out, don’t think about it or even discuss it – GOOGLE it! You don’t know the capital of Venezuela or who played in goal for Brighton in the Cup Final, well, racking your brains is so last century. Google it for instant satisfaction and, then, forget it. Next time South American capitals or The Seagulls crop up in conversation – if you are still having conversations – you can Google it again!
You don’t have to attend a Buddhist retreat to realise that it might be a good thing to live in the moment as far as possible. While you’ve got that electronic toy in front of your face you are preventing yourself from doing so. Put it away. Get a real life.