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Earthbound

Passive Mobility

[Prelude: It has taken me a long time to complete this article.  I could not decide  whether I should publish this article or withhold it because I was not sure how strongly I felt about it.  There is an honest fear in me that warns me not to openly stand for/against something like this, because in future it may put me at a disadvantage.  I hope that many of you share this fear.]

Did this prelude mislead you to think that I am thinking something else? This could be the worst article ever, written at CanTHee Rava.

It has increased connectivity and it has increased business opportunities.  However, there is something about mobile phones that makes me say ‘no’ to them.  People who start reading this article may start exactly from the opposite opinion ‘pole’ and by the end of it we may meet somewhere near the middle.  Say hello to each other.  Off we go…to our respective poles.  Expect that to happen!

What are the obvious demerits of a mobile phone?

  1. Denatures language (may invent new words, but not helpful in the long run)
  2. May cause ‘arthritis’ to your fingers (you may survive if you have got bones of steel or not an avid texter)
  3. Raging ring-tones, out-of-context caller tunes!
  4. Makes you carry your world with you always (‘always’ is the key word)
  5. Bad photography

All of the above do not apply to a responsible mobile phone user.  Who is that person?   Those who responsibly own a mobile phone say that they choose and wisely turn it off .  They turn it off if they are in an official  meeting (good).  They turn it off when they are driving a vehicle (very good).  They put it on a silent mode when they are in a public place (very very good).  They follow many more good user guidelines.  I respect that.  However, as soon as the self-enforced ‘ban’ ends, you can see the real response.  The same old saga continues.  Like any other technology, mobile phones have given rise to new and amusing behavioural patterns in humans, which are worth a study.  To name a few… “Running upstairs to open air, sneaking outside a bus/car window, can I call you back, give me a missed call, calling others over their land-line and asking them where they are!”…

Internet is another thing that is similar in power.  I do not carry internet with me wherever I go, do I?  With a laptop or a hi-fi mobile phone, one can carry internet almost anywhere.  I would prefer them to be away.  Physically static. I want me to go to them when I need them rather than they staying with me 24/7.  You could be right in recognizing a weak mind at work.  However, it could be wrong to say that this notion applies to every technology that we use.  No, it doesn’t.  We are attracted to things that involves active participation.  Watching TV and Listening to Radio is passive,  and you cannot do it for long. Driving a vehicle is ‘active’ but it requires more than an active participation (I mean at least 100% all the time).  You cannot do it for long.

When it comes to mobile phones and internet, both of them allow active participation and they can tolerate less than 100% involvement.  What a dreadful and an irresistible combination.

Many believe that as a technology and as a multitasking tool, mobile phone is evolving so fast that its users find it difficult to evolve with it.  We cannot beat a machine in its own game, especially when it is manufactured to do things that we cannot do, can we? It is that same old temptation that becomes an addiction before one understands it.

Yes, it could be glorious hypocrisy if one says he doesn’t own a mobile phone but wants others to answer him when he calls them over their mobile phone.  I put my hands up.  I admit that in certain unknown, strange situations, mobile phones can be life saving devices.  I don’t think all of us need to carry one, to be safe.

Another thing that bothers me most about mobile phones is their ability to do more than just assisting telephone calls.  I don’t think you get just a mobile handset these days.  People treat a phone as ‘crap’, if it is just a phone even if it is  sturdy and has a legible-chirpy keypad. To them, it is not value for money, which I don’t understand.  In general, it is worrying to see how people take basic (meant to be) functions for granted.

It has been an active resistance on my part not to own a mobile phone.  Whenever I hear a person say “what?  you do not have a mobile phone?”, I do not respond and you know why?  If  I wait for a moment, there is a high chance that the same person will say “lucky you”.  I will certainly smile. Many know that they cannot run away from it because it has become their extended self.

and there you have your mobile phone in a nut ‘Cell’.

About CanTHeeRava

I am CanTHeeRava (ಶ್ರೀಕಣ್ಠ ದಾನಪ್ಪಯ್ಯ) from Bangalore (ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು), INDIA. Areas of my training and interests include Sciences, Indian Classical (Carnatic) Music, Languages, Poetry (Kannada and English), Test Cricket, and Educational & Political Reform

Discussion

10 thoughts on “Passive Mobility

  1. Being an ‘active’ user of mobile myself (“even to the extent of getting royal scolding for its usage at home!”) I prefer using it for the sake of connectivity. In my own case, there is no ambiguity because of its very advantage.
    The article definitely is a platform for users (me also!) to re look at their dependability (or I would even term it habituation) on mobile phone usage.
    What really amazed me was the presence of cautiousness in language used in the blog.
    Gr8 article indeed….

    Posted by nataraja (via email) | December 20, 2009, 14:26
    • Thank you Nataraja.
      I think you are the one of the people who have the potential to lead others to ‘mobile phone’ reforms.
      You have adopted a mobile phone much later in your life than others and you understand what it can do.

      Posted by danappiah007 | December 21, 2009, 17:52
  2. Dani,

    firstly, you need not give the extended prelude, it is your article and you have all the rights to share your thought.

    And then, please you have given the option to comment on your articles, i can give my views as well…

    Every product in the market is hazardous in a way but a very useful one if it is used in the right method or context.

    Below, I have few examples… I use ‘uses’ because it is used by a responsible user and i chose to use ‘issues’ when used by an irresponsible user.

    Examples:
    Car>>
    Uses : Takes your family in a luxury coach to different places
    issue: the whole family can meet with an accident if the driver is irresponsible.

    Email>>
    Uses : A (not so) new mode of exchanging letters in an organised facility.
    issues: Spams.

    This Article:
    Uses: Allows users to know your mindset and makes them to understand the intent of this article.
    issues: reading this article is a waste of time🙂

    — vatsa

    Posted by vatsa | December 21, 2009, 04:10
    • Good reply Vatsa. I know you are a user of my article.
      I have already acknowledged ‘responsible users of mobile phones’.
      May be, we need more of them to set examples.
      If the network providers and the mobile phone companies themselves start a campaign to mobilize (what a phrase!) mobile users to be more responsible, then I think it will have some impact.

      With reference to prelude,
      It is an ugly truth. Although I believe that ugly truths should not be in the open and graphic, I felt that ugly truths are meant to be dealt with on priority. Hence, I had to write it. Your point has made me rethink my position. Well done to you.

      Posted by danappiah007 | December 21, 2009, 17:38
  3. One need not look at everything negatively. Would you argue that because of the invention of posts centuries ago, people stopped talking to people face to face! Let it be about you and the mobile phones. There is you and there is mobile phone. It is a device which can do certain things. Whether you adapt to it or not is up to you. Why do you need to judge others on their choices?
    There are plenty of examples of man made devices becoming an extension of the personality. Take the example of a knife, sword or even clothes. They are essentially devices or things which were made to help the act of survival.
    We live in an age of booming population. Increase in the number of people results in adopting new devices of survival. Being connected has become a way of life or in essence a way to survive in this age!
    I know that you do not agree that people need so many things to survive. But, it is just “you”.

    Posted by geethakydala | December 21, 2009, 11:15
    • Your point on sword and clothes as extensions of human body is well made. We have different rules for different things, don’t we? One can carry a sword as a tradition in some places in India and in some other place one need not where anything in the name of religion. That is alright. If one carries a sword in an inappropriate place or walks nude in a market in Bangalore, he/she will be put behind bars. 😛

      I am not judging anyone Thasi. I am a bit concerned. I have already said that ‘mobile phones’ are now seen as tools for survival, which is worrying me. Yes, it worries only me, because I don’t have one? I hope not.

      Posted by danappiah007 | December 21, 2009, 17:17
  4. really informative article… but as a part of a user it is only connecting to other end!
    very nice.

    Reply: Brilliant Murthy. I could not think it as an extension beyond the caller.

    Posted by murthy | December 24, 2009, 08:30
  5. Soon after reading my article Kaushik sent me an e mail
    “…How can I reach you? Is there any phone number that I can reach you to?”
    His timing needs to be lauded.

    Posted by kaushik (via e mail) | December 24, 2009, 15:10
  6. This article is after my own heart. I have nothing against mobile phones and internet but I am concerned at their ubiquitous nature.
    I have been away from my home a long time now and before I left our landline was good enough to keep in touch. Now each one in the household has a mobile phone and I feel it is too much. I am all for being connected but this is like going overboard. There is a phone at home and there is a phone at office, what is the need to contact me when I am on the road?
    Another thing I totally dislike is people give more attention to their gadgets than the people they are with. I am either reading a book or surfing the net when I am alone; but when I am with friends, I am talking to them. I have seen others always looking at their phone (specially the iphone) even when they are in a group; that irritates me a lot.
    I would personally prefer the freedom of not owning a mobile phone.

    Posted by Soumya | December 25, 2009, 23:57
  7. Srikanta, I understand and agree with all the points about “irresponsible usage” but what I would like to emphasize is that in these days “privacy” has become a “huge issue” for many! e.g., If I am to get an interview call, I would prefer to receive it on my mobile phone rather than the landline. Most of us don’t have a dedicated landline for ourselves and long conversations (sometimes inevitable) on such instruments irritates other users of the phone! Do you remember how irritated everyone at home used to get when I used to receive phone calls which lasted a long time? I believe if not for anything else, mobile phones are essential to respect one’s privacy! And as far as “bad language” is concerned, it is upto us to tell those who continue using that language even in other communication forms (e.g., e-mail) not to use it! (I have done it, with some decent effect!)

    Posted by padmalekha | January 2, 2010, 06:27

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