Cell phones and the fear of being alone

Posted: September 21, 2013 in Conscious computing, Food for thought
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While I’m a technology lover, I do agree with the point of view that by using technology (especially cell phones) so much we miss out on or plain avoid the opportunity to be alone.

There is a lot of self-knowledge to be gained from being alone and free of incoming information. But it often hurts and is scary. So we avoid it by reaching for connection (aka cell phone). Sherry Turkle argues that the kind of connection we get this way is not always authentic and satisfying. It is a cheap replacement, like a cheap “nutritional” drink is a replacement for a healthy, nourishing meal.

Anyway, arguments like the one above are boring. But this comedian explains it much better on Conan:

Can you try to pay attention and notice when you are using your phone to avoid being alone? Can you try practicing being alone, just sitting there, without music or any other stimulus, for maybe 5 minutes every other day, and see what happens?

We will talk more in class about this in a few weeks when we discuss the topic of attention and distraction.

  1. annerstark says:

    I love being alone. Then again, I am an introvert so alone time for me is precious. My desire to be alone is why I am not part of a running group or have a running partner. I prefer to be out there for hours on end with just my thoughts and the sound of my feet! There is no better way for me to recharge.

  2. nkrammes says:

    I have to agree with Anne. While I’m obsessed with my iPhone, the apps, and the constant connectivity to others, I find much solace in putting it all away and just thinking, relaxing, and talking with others face-to-face. As I get older, I appreciate it more and more, and I’m sure there will come a time when I don’t feel the need to pull out the iPhone every time I come to a red light.

  3. […] Dr. V. from my Tech class posted a nice reflection on Louis CK‘s interview on Conan and his rant Cell phones and the fear of being alone. […]