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The Madera Tribune

Are we in a technological prison?

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webmaster | 10/01/12

The one thing humans value above almost anything else, is freedom, or at least the illusion of freedom. Think back, if you can, to when cordless telephones first became popular. People could be seen walking around their houses talking on the phone, although they would not stray too far away from the devices in their homes that were hooked up to the main phone line.

Why was this? Why was it so important for people to be able to walk around the house talking on the phone instead of sitting on a chair and talking?

The answer was that cordless phones gave the illusion of freedom. And many if not most of us still have cordless phones in our homes. But those cordless phones are being replaced by cell phones, which provide an even bigger illusion of freedom. We now can phone from almost anywhere, as long as we can get a signal.

There we are, walking around with our cell phones, playing games with them, talking on them, listening to music with them, using them to send and receive emails and text messages ... they are wonderful instruments that have given us ultimate freedom.

Or have they?

One wonders. First, before cell phones came along, we didn’t have to pay big fat bills for them, bills that can run into the hundreds of dollars a month. We didn’t have to endure the interruptions of face-to-face talk by the ringing of our cell phones. Instead of enjoying clear sounds that were the norm when all phones were hard-wired, we try to understand conversations that often are mush-mouthed due to the limits of the technology.

We have given up clarity of conversation for the illusory freedom of being able to walk around with our phones in our pockets ... without really having more to say than when our only phones were hard-wired.

Perhaps rather than being free, we have been imprisoned by a technology.


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