From Smartphone to Dumbphone, and other Luddite ramblings...
Get off your damn phone!
I love asking young-adults, “Has life improved since you got a smart-phone?” They always think for a moment, then tell me the same answer, “Nope”.
Life seemed so much simpler before the notifications. Before the vast Social Media in your little Hands. Before all of this, Computers used to be something you sat down and used deliberately & occasionally. Not something which you held on to at all times to beckon your attention with endless trifling alerts.
Well, I finally did it and I took the plunge. Something I talked about for so long. I've switched back to a flip-phone.
It was not even so much that I had given up on my smartphone. It was that my smartphone had given up on me. It was 5 years old and the battery barely lasted an hour. If it wasn't fully charged I probably wouldn't be able to take a picture with it.
So, rather than suffer the indignity of having my smartphone repaired with a new battery or replacing the phone altogether, I spent the $60 on a used flip phone. A Kyocera DuraXV to be exact. Moved my sim card over and voila. It was like turning a page in a book.
This is how life used to be. Interfacing with the world with an original dumb-phone and the occasional laptop. Eventually maybe I'll even break out a desktop PC and an old CRT-monitor, just one of these days... maybe… Well probably not…
Oh lord, please forgive me for how sanctimonious and pompous this has made me when I am actually out in public. Man-Facing-Man, with only a non-qwerty device. Man-Qua-Man, Facing the world in all of my own smartphone-free glory. While I witness my fellow-man hobbled by his own excessive usage.
Well that and I'll probably buy a little Japanese digital camera eventually, one with automatic filters of course. I'm not a total Luddite, I still seek muh picturesque lulz.
I also don't consider this a regression backwards, more of a progression forwards. Transcending the smartphone-plane. A cyclical-revolution, have you will. After-all, this is what Intelligent-Traditionalism is all about.
Now instead of carrying a smartphone, I often may be found carrying a note-book or a camera. A physical book for those moments when I want to get lost in something outside of myself.
Am I using my laptop more than when I had a smartphone? Sure.
But each act on a full-desktop is so much more deliberate and cumbersome than the instant gratification a smartphone gives you. With the laptop it takes a conscious effort and it lends more to creating something. Writing, editing, producing, more so than consuming.
I don't bring a laptop with me when I go anywhere so it's only at home. This means that when I do go somewhere, outside of my home, I feel free again. Free from technology. Each time I leave my house it's like a mini digital-detox session.
This was a long journey for me. I was one of the first to get a smartphone, as I needed one for work. At least that is what I told myself at the time. Maybe it was more to, escape work. They seemed totally cool & rad in the mid-2000s. That first Motorola Droid with the slide-out QWERTY keyboard, Damn Son... those memories, That Keyboard!
In some ways, for me at least, the current smartphones are a big step backwards already, being sans-real keyboard.
Someone asked me; How could you take such a drastic step? What if you needed to change your flight at an airport or do something online in an emergency? Well these are all valid questions of course, but I am a Goat-farmer. Once you seek a life in which you do not conduct much consumption with the outside world, these sort of consumer scenarios no longer seem relevant to you.
Sure, when I am driving somewhere new I miss navigating with GPS. But I too remember when I was younger, printing the directions and following them to a tee. It was fun.
In fact, I feel like a kid again. All the wondrous joy, with the freedom to think, uninterrupted by the outside world. Wrapped in ones own contemplative thoughts & none other. A world of newfound awe, ripped away from its techno-crushing defeat by 1,000 Captchas, death by 1,000 technological cuts. A world far away from the Techno-Supremacist nightmare Huxley & Guenon warned us about.
I almost feel like a man who had given up on his gas-propelled vehicle, out of necessity, only to find a bicycle serves him better. Or like Thoreau complaining that he could walk to Fitchburg faster than riding the train and enjoy it more, too. He argued that when one walks by foot they have the freedom to forge their own journey, whereas when one rides the railroad they are subject to the predetermined path of the rails. Not only that, it was a heck of a lot cheaper to walk too.
One other amazing thing about this flip-phone is that it actually has better cellular service than an iPhone or top of the line Android phone. I can now text or make phone calls from places I never could before.
All those dead spots in zones no longer exist for me. It's almost as if the smartphone and the way it works, with a horribly vulnerable glass screen and poor antenna design; It's almost as if it gets poor service on-purpose. Maybe the purpose is to make you seek out a more urbanized existence around more and more antennas!
With this dumb-phone I can go further and further away than ever before and still place an emergency call!
My flip phone may lack a screen, and only have basic apps like a calculator, it may lack many many things. But it has real keys, real apha-numerics baby... Leet-texting towards the future.
Join me friends. Take a step forward to a place you can still remember, even if just barely . . .
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fantastic article. i have a "smart" phone. but i use it like a dumb phone. its literally just my texter and sometimes camera. i dont let it be the boss of me and probably wouldnt even have one if pay phones were a regular thing still.
I also took the flip phone pill! I have a very similar "rugged" flip phone as your Kyocera, and can attest to all the benefits you mention. My screen time on my phone has gone from 4 hours a day on my iPhone to probably around 30 minutes. It works great and does everything I need. So much cheaper too, and with replaceable batteries I can theoretically keep it as long as the 4G networks are up. Although in quarantine I end up with my face in a computer screen most of the day anyway... it's a step in the right direction. Great article and great summary of the benefits, keep it up!