The great Tyler Durden stated, "The things you own will end up owning you." If that wasn't the case over 10 years ago when Fight Club came out, it sure is now.
Have you ever been at a bar, or a party, or any other social gathering where everybody stops talking for a moment and starts messing with their phones? It's a bit unsettling if you think about it. Almost like, in that instant, everybody just succumbed to technology. The smart phone is the new safety blanket.
I'm not saying that I hate technology. I'm no Luddite whatsoever. I'm saying that if we keep letting technology do things for us, we will end up being like the humans in Wall-E. We'll be kept alive so we can use all the junk that makes our lives easier.
I remember one of my favorite moments in my life was during the Great Northeast Blackout of 2003. In an instant, everyone went back in to the dark ages. People's cell phones got no signal. Traffic was at a standstill everywhere so it was almost pointless to use the car. It was hot as hell outside and the air conditioning wasn't working. It was so hot that a local Detroit television affiliate anchorman went on the air with a t-shirt on! It was cool because I got to the see the Milky Way from my house due to the light pollution largely being gone. Looking down a major road was completely dark and looked like I was in the middle of the countryside.
Since all of our power was off, we had to do something with the tons of frozen food we had. What did we do? Invited a bunch of people over and had a big barbeque. We bought as much ice as we could from the store adjacent to my neighborhood and got loads of water and beer. No one was looking at their phones because it was pointless. No one was checking email or doing anything with technology besides looking at their watches. People road bikes or walked over. It was eerie because if we dressed up different we could have been in a different century.
We lost power for three days. Three days is usually how long it takes to have the body get over an addiction like smoking (not accounting for the psychological aspect). People were actually reading books and talking like human beings again. They started learning how to live without the training wheels of technology. The best part about the blackout is people kept saying, "never again" when it came to letting our outdated power systems fail. What happened? Nothing at all. The power came back on and most we're just like "Screw it." And the system wasn't updated. Now it is summer of 2012, and the mainstream media is talking about it happening again. I'm already icing the beer and prepping the grill baby!
Just like the BP oil spill, we go to great lengths to create major technological breakthroughs, but if it fails we don't know how to live without it, or fix it. When it fails we're left holding our head in our hands and using words like "tragedy" or "catastrophe" to label the event. What it really should be called is, "stupidity." How can you send a tube down a mile in then drill a few miles in to the ocean bedrock and not have a foolproof plan to fix it if it fails? The reason is that we're looking too forward into the future and not thinking of the consequences. Now, there are chocolate Pelicans washing up on beaches and celebrities made it their duty to speak up and also promote whatever movie they had coming.
Today, we are slaves to our own technology. I know that I am. I'm sitting in a room with a movie playing and I'm barely watching it. I have lights on all over the place. My phone is charging right next to me. In an instant all of that can stop, and I will be sitting alone in the dark until eventually all the batteries on all my devices die.
So start reading up on some things that can prepare you for when your technology takes a crap when you least expect it. Do not be owned by your devices. You are not your smart phone!