It seems almost everyone has a cell phone now. According to the Federal Communications Commission there are more than 280 million mobile subscribers in America. In a 2005 international study by Advertising Age, 15 percent of Americans have interrupted sex to answer their phones. This itself is quiet disturbing.(1) With all the media hype and news sites plugging the latest i-whatever6 you would have thought they just landed a man on Mars or invented a chocolate bar that keep replacing itself every time you take a bite.
Old School Yet Still Living the Dream
Now call me old school but I don’t have the latest mobile phone or the latest anything for that matter. When I was a younger I sometimes had to use a mobile for work. These were the days when mobiles would not fit in your back pocket and you had to carry the thing around on your hip in a pouch. I thought I was so cool with my little phone, I was moving up in the world. Except when I used the phone it felt like my left ear was being zapped by something, my head felt all fuzzy and I just felt uncomfortable using the thing. Sometimes I would even get a headache if I was on the phone for too long.
While the technology has changed the zapping in the ear has not. I had to take a call for a friend who had the latest “you beaut” phone with all the bells and whistles and I still got that zapping feeling in my ear and head. Needless to say I very rarely use a mobile phone as it is not so cool when you think your head is on fire. I ditched the phone and prefer to us the good old fashioned landline. You can laugh all you like but I still have a life even without the latest I-whatever and for the record I still use broadband, not wifi…
Humanity has a strange propensity to become enslaved to the instruments it creates for its advancement. Technology can dominate social existence and enslave as well as liberate. Technology in the factory is making human labor dispensable and converting employment into a privilege rather than a fundamental right. So too, a blind faith in the wisdom of the impersonal marketplace can destroy social integrity and undermine human values. So completely have we accepted this voluntary bondage that we regard as legitimate – almost any scientific quest and any technological invention regardless of its impact on humanity. We do not even hold scientists responsible for the consequences of the technologies they invent.(2)
Industrial Design – Designed to Extract Money From Your Wallet
While some of the technological wizzardry is amazing and no doubt has applications that can help some folks, it is not for me. I worked out that it won’t change my life and that I can live without it, it is just another distraction to keep me from living life in the moment. I came to the realisation that everyone, myself included was being conned by the makers of these techno accessories. That’s why new upgrades come out every six to 12 months with no real significant differences.
I discovered there was a name for this mass conning of the general populous, it is called planned obsolescence. We have been sold a bill of goods that the latest new gadgetry would change our lives and we needed to have it to be cool and keep up with the trends. Planned obsolescence is the industrial design and planning of a product that has an artificially limited life, so it will become obsolete, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time.
The idea is to generate sales by reducing the time between repeat purchases, thus shortening the replacement cycle. Right now the makers of the I-whatever6 most probably have and are working on jimmying up the next gimmick to extract some dollars from the unsuspecting techno trend setter. They have a marketing strategy and plan in place around this I-whatever7 which will tell everyone how much different this new technology is from the last one and so on it goes. Maybe the next one might come in camo green or something earth shattering.
Wasteful, Debt-ridden, Permanently Discontented
Planned obsolescence was first developed way back in the 1920s and 1930s when mass production really started to take off. Manufacturers had to figure out what they could do with all the excess capacity that was created by the mechanisation of labour. In 1960, cultural critic Vance Packard published a book titled The Waste Makers, promoted as an exposé of “the systematic attempt of business to make us wasteful, debt-ridden, permanently discontented individuals.”(3) Looks like Vance was on the money so to speak, he would be rolling in his grave if he saw what was going on today and how successful the corporations have been at integrating planned obsolescence into the economy. For more on planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence watch Annie Leonard’s short clip below.
Some Good Reasons Not to Get Sucked into Planned Obsolescence
- Getting off the mobile grid forces others to wait for you to get in touch with them. You are in control.
- Allows you to use your time more efficiently and become more focused.
- You become more organised and don’t get dragged into last minute decisions that you may prefer to avoid.
- Learn more effectively by staying focused and not being constantly distracted.
- Learn to think as opposed to constantly reacting.
- Save a truckload of money on mobile phones and plans.
- Avoid radiation – mobilize link.
- Avoid contributing to the mountains of toxic waste in developing countries. (FIND OUT MORE)
- Learn to be present and enjoy the moment, experiencing life around you.
- Get to spend more quality time with people as opposed to a gadget.
- Enjoy sex more and more often….
Excerpts from One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…
(2) In their essay The Global Values Discourse in the publication Eruditio, Issue 1 – Part 4 September 2012.