A thing – a car, gas, a phone, a beer – is inherently good. The material world is good.
As with all good things in the material world, it is the implementation of them that can be less than good or evil.
A newly brewed keg of beer sitting ready for consumption is good. A man consuming 15 beers and then saying or doing things that he would never do sober is less than good or evil. This seems like common sense, but too many people try to regulate the good instead of regulating the man.
By regulate I mean teach what is good or right. You cannot teach a beer to not go down the throat of a man, but you can teach a man that he can either not drink or needs to limit his consumption.
Now let’s substitute a cell phone for the beer – the man stays constant.
Cell Phones are good. They allow a mother to check in with her children when they walk to school. They are life-saves when you run out of gas. They help us to keep in touch with loved ones in times of need. All good right?
Yes, all of those things are good, but that’s not all we are doing with cell phones. The majority of us use them for wants instead of needs. I would guess that 99% of cell phone use is pure entertainment or medicine for boredom.
But, what did we do before cell phones?
Plan, Plan, Plan. Yes, people actually thought about things before they jumped in the car. Do I have enough gas? Should I stop at the gas station and check the air pressure or fluid levels? When was the last time I tuned up my car? Do I have the papers or information that I need for this errand?
And for the boredom, people brought along a book or a journal or nothing. I know what you’re thinking, you can now read books and even journal on an Iphone, and I will respond to that in a later post.
So what have we lost and what have we gained?
I would argue that we have gained a false sense of security – that someone will always be just a phone call away. The other gain is purely entertainment.
But we have lost billions of hours of real connections, real conversations and real life. Cell phones and more recently, Smart phones allow individuals to live in their own world – all the time. While waiting in line or driving, one can always live in their own world and not have to talk, look at, or interact in any way with the world all around them.
So I ask, have we really gained more than we’ve lost by putting a cell phone in everyone’s hand?
I think we have lost more than we have gained.