To hold infinity in the palm of your hand

Alice Gregory writes:

Shteyngart says the first thing that happened when he bought an iPhone “was that New York fell away . . . It disappeared. Poof.” That’s the first thing I noticed too: the city disappeared, along with any will to experience. New York, so densely populated and supposedly sleepless, must be the most efficient place to hone observational powers. But those powers are now dulled in me. I find myself preferring the blogs of remote strangers to my own observations of present ones. Gone are the tacit alliances with fellow subway riders, the brief evolution of sympathy with pedestrians. That predictable progress of unspoken affinity is now interrupted by an impulse to either refresh a page or to take a website-worthy photo. I have the nervous hand-tics of a junkie. For someone whose interest in other people’s private lives was once endless, I sure do ignore them a lot now.

Via Doc Searls and, with rueful irony, William Blake.

4 thoughts on “To hold infinity in the palm of your hand

  1. zapata31

    This is exactly the reason why I’ve been struggling against the recurrent impulse of buying a smartphone. My phone is 6 years old and I accumulated enough credits with my telco in France to get a smartphone with a huge discount. But I’m aware this comes with the addiction to snippets of worthless facebook posts and other time-killing apps. The question is : how long will I be able to turn down the marketing promise of the Iphone brave new world ? Its screen is so slick that I sometimes dream of it.

  2. Robert Graham

    The iPhone does have some useful restrictions available though.

    If you enable restrictions and ask a trusted partner/friend/parent to set the passcode, you can disable Safari, YouTube, and installation of apps.

    Thus, you can install the actually useful apps initially, then have the phone locked down to your specification – no temptation and no distractions.

    Another useful method is to use a network provider with no 3G data packet selected, if you are outside the US and have an unlocked iPhone. Then you wont be pestered so much outside of home or office, and is also cheaper.

  3. Magnus_engdahl

    I’m amazed that people still think that smart phones will ruin there lifes. Why is it so difficult to see the pattern that every new technology has been treated the same way by people afraid of change and they have been wrong every time.

    This behaviour that Alice describes do exist but it is an initial state. The reason for that is obvious, we don’t like it. What we do like is a little of both since that enrich our life’s. Try to let go of the either/or thinking.

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