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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Relativity Of The iPhone Part 2

I got into this whole iPhone and electronic gizmo business when She-who-must-be-obeyed turned a gimlet eye to me while driving to Toronto and said that my nephew was acting like a pain again, and was not much fun anymore, was sarcastic, and was withdrawn into the world of playing iPhone games, looking at Facebook on the iPhone, and general iPhonery.

And when the phone was down, the iPad was up.

She said my sister-in-law said the boy used to be so lovely, and now there was a rough patch that had gone on a while and the road signs indicated more patches ahead; all he does is stare at those e-gadgets

So, I thought, why blame the iPhone?
Why blame electronic gizmos for adolescents?

That makes no sense. So maybe people are blaming iPhones for somehow making teenagers avoid the society of their parents and adults even more than hitherto. Teens have always been "withdrawn" to some degree.
I started to think about it. Definitely we cannot blame the new e-gadgets for pre-existing conditions. So what is going on?

One fact seems to stand out: the e-gadgets are fast. E-gadgets always have been. Think broadly now: e-gadgets include the telegraph, the telephone, radio, old-timey TV, etc. They were all fast; they all "shrunk" the world...  relative to the speed of light of electro-magnetism, the length and breadth of the world underwent a radical Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction, using a metaphor from Physics.

Whatever a person wants to do in a hour, they can do in 1/2 an hour using an e-gadget.
The e-gadget "saves time".
Looking at this from the viewpoint of the total fund of time the person has available to do things in, that fund of time has just "expanded" by 1/2 an hour.

If a teenager is oppressed by the amount of time that his parents spend badgering them to this, that, and the other thing, the overhang of threatening time has just gotten much, much bigger!
And the only way the teen can deal with it are the electronic gadgets all around. However, by using more e-gadgets, the young people increase the amount of time within which they feel adrift, oppressed, discontented...


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