August 10, 2013

Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Cell Phone?

Some people are averse to change and to technology--and then there is Gary Sernovitz. 

This guy in the Wall Street Journal today boasts how he is one of the last 9% of American society that goes without a cell phone (let alone a smartphone). 

At 40 and as a managing director of an investment firm, he says if he needs to make a call he uses one of the 30 working remaining payphones in Manhattan or borrows his wife or a strangers phone--so much for personal independence and self-sufficiency. Does this guy (and wife) live at home with his mommy too?

He calls himself a "technology holdout" and actually goes on to says that he is scared of getting a cell phone because he is afraid of losing himself.

While admittedly, many people do go overboard with technology, social media, and gaming to the point of addiction, I am not sure that getting a cell phone is alone a major risk factor.

Sernovtiz says he adheres to Henry David Thoreau's philosophy of simplicity--and that inventions "are but improved means to an unimproved end." 

Thoreau went to live in the woods to "live deliberately" and focus on "only the essential facts of life," perhaps like many ascetics and spiritual guides before him have. And as such, this is not a bad thing when done for the right reasons. 

But Sernovitz's one-sided message is a negative one, because technology as any tool is not bad in and of itself--it's how we exert control over the tool and ourselves, balancing productive use from misuse and abuse. 

If Sernovitz is so afraid of using technology, perhaps he should question himself as an investment manager and disavow use of money--which can be used for many evils from greed, hoarding, and selfishness to financing terrorism--and instead go back to bartering forest lumber and chicken eggs?

When I asked my 16-year old daughter what she thought of Sernovitz's article, she said he can't differentiate "simpler from easier."

Don't mind me if I pass on this guy's book, "The Contrarians." ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

No comments: