Village Praxis: Dumb Phones Make You Smarter

Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

Do you have a smartphone? Get rid of it. Rationalize it all you want but it is robbing you of some of the best aspects of being alive and in the now and present. Reading doesn’t take place until your eyes are off the page. It disturbs mindfulness, ruins cognition and simply makes you distracted to advancing as a human being.

Those aren’t friends on the ‘net, those are distant acquaintances who behaves in a way distinctly different from their meatspace proclivities.

Once you’ve liberated yourself and gotten a dumb phone, buy a Faraday bag and you are set. Talk to people with your mouth, write letters, as a matter of fact, write. Writing makes you smarter, more contemplative and simply brighter in apprehending the world you.

You will relish the newfound return to “unavailability”.

I’m not a technophobe but I am one of a handful of humans who has never had a FaceBorg account and I am the better for it.

My editor told me to have a Twitter account and that constantly fights for my attention and may very well be my existential albatross to bear instead of FB or a smartphone.

You will discover that if you take the leap from smartphone to dumbphone, keep a careful eye on your provider bills. People have learned the hard way that when it comes to cell phones, it’s easier to get into the system than to get out of it.

You may become nomophobic. Fight it. Coined by researchers in the United Kingdom, nomophobia is defined as “the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.”

According to Nicholas Carr:

“It’s not only deep thinking that requires a calm, attentive mind. It’s also empathy and compassion. Psychologists have long studied how people experience fear and react to physical threats, but it’s only recently that they’ve begun researching the sources of our nobler instincts. What they’re finding is that, as Antonio Damasio, the director of USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, explains, the higher emotions emerge from neural processes that are “inherently slow.”

Some very savvy tech folk don’t use smartphones for a variety of reasons. One of them is Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of Kaspersky lab, the most prominent antivirus software company. I  know a few regional business leaders who for security reasons prefer an old very basic Nokia. I happen to have three Nokia “candy-bars” sitting in my desk from my time overseas.

Your phone is rewiring the way you make human connections and not for the better. There are some smartphone researchers who are suggesting that the technology is physically altering brain wiring and activity.

You want a camera? Buy a camera and carry it in your EDC. Want to stay in touch? Buy a dumb phone. Want to be connected but not addicted? Get a pager. I carry an encrypted Spok T5.

And don’t forget your Faraday Bag.

And you do realize you are doing all the heavy lifting for the surveillance state to compile an incredibly detailed diary and archive of your life, who you are and who you associate with? You’re the battery they’ve been lusting after for millennia. You cooperate with own once and future enslavement.

Jenna Woginrich put it nicely:

“I got a landline and I got more sleep. I look people in the eye. I eat food instead of photographing it and am not driving half a ton of metal into oncoming traffic while looking down at a tiny screen. My business, social life, and personal safety have not evaporated overnight either. Turns out a basic internet connection and laptop is plenty of connectivity to keep friends informed, weekends fun and trains running on time. And while I might be missing out on being able to call 911 at any moment, it’s worth the sacrifice to me. Alcoholics can clean wounds with 100 proof vodka, but that doesn’t mean they should have it in their back pocket just in case.”

Embrace the unplugged life.

Next step, unplug from all cable and satellite services for your glass teat.

If you disconnect, do write me and tell me of the experience.

Republished with permission from Bill Buppert’s Zerogov.com

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Bill Buppert is a retired US Army officer living in the high desert of the American Southwest with his wife and home-schooled family. He has been a writer for a number of publications and is particularly interested in the issues of liberty, survival, shooting, and history. He has made a number of appearances including debating Dr. Daniel Walker Howe at the July 2010 Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, NV on the superiority of the Articles of Confederation versus the Constitution. He wishes to continue the abolitionist project of men like William Wilberforce and Lysander Spooner. He is the founder and publisher of ZeroGov.com

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