Day 15: How phones act as existential blockades


Today marks the halfway point for the February tech diet.

I'd like to take this time to talk about self control through the lens of smartphones. This is really one of the main reasons why I decided to take a break from my iPhone, it was that I felt like I had no control when it came to using it. Even when I would promise to not use it for a number of hours, I would always find myself going back to my phone, hoping there would be a text or a call from someone.

And I think there are a couple reasons why our minds always lead us back to our phones. As I have discussed before, I believe that the phone, with its unlimited forms of entertainment, offers an assured path of escapism. Extending off of this notion, I think that apart from a temporary escape from reality, the phone also acts a sort of way for us to feel significant in the world. To explain this further, I would like to refer back to the Louis C.K. video that I posted on Day 3. Louis talks about that existential feeling that we all get every once in a while, and how we usually pull out our phones in response. I would like to to take this idea further, in that I think the reason why we take our phones out is because the only way we can get rid of this existential feeling is by feeling significant.

And our phones let us have this ability. It lets us post pictures that get comments and compliments from our friends or RSVP for an event later that weekend that we can look forward to. It allows us to make a mark on the world in a very unique way. And these are all good things. But I believe that we sometimes rely on our phones to make us not feel insignificant. If we are constantly patching up that feeling, we cannot ever be okay with it.