Man ignoring woman on phone - Dare To Be Purple Blog

“A vision of Hell” – Guest blog

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.

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One comment

  1. elizadaw41 · December 30, 2015

    RE-A Vision of Hell.
    Because most of us have mobile phones and some of the latest technology doesn’t mean we are all witless.
    All very well if one wants to stride out into the countryside every weekend, like the vagabonds of the poem of old, sleep in hedges. dip your bread in the river and all that stuff. Or even to go for a walk. Not everyone has a choice of walking either.
    Nothing clever about boasting ‘I haven’t any of it and never will’.This technology has changed peoples lives for ever.those who for some reason cannot go out alone.When I was disabled for a time my computer was even more of a lifeline than my telephone. I learned the hard way what it was like not to be able to walk.I’d have lost hope without the high tech stuff.That comment reminded me of an old lady I met once when to be 60 was ancient.The family bought her a vacuum cleaner.She begrudgingly said she’d use this new fangled thing, but always went over again with a sweeping brush.
    I must admit to my disappointment with manufacturers outdated concepts about what older people should have, be it clothing, equipment etc. Why should it all be black and grey, Call it silver shadow or raspberry or horror parchment–it’s still grey, maroon and beige..And don’t get me started on Shoes-especially those hospital jobs they dish out.We called them cripple boots once upon a time.They are still as bad now. In the catalogues they look smart, but somehow when delivered have morphed into some thing else. I’ve sat in a few hospital waiting rooms listening to patients despairing comments.
    Things are changing a little, I’ve seen flowered walking sticks and things, different but so twee.
    There are a lot of us – slight understatement and we are smart and need to shout.

    Like

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