I have written before about the way in which I think the use of mobile phones and other electronic equipment is having a negative effect upon human interactions. I am reluctant to condemn all these new inventions because in many ways they are miracles of human invention, but it is hard for me to see their good in a world now increasingly peopled by automaton-like figures peering into their screens with never an eye raised to acknowledge the presence of those they are passing by.
become used to allowing the demands of the mobile phone to control your life in
this way, I wonder how this will affect human interactions in the long
term. More and more people now appear to
be compelled by their insistent ringing tones to give mobile phones priority
over everything else to the extent that they allow them to interrupt whatever social
interactions are taking place at the time.
reminded of this at a restaurant I went to last week, where the owner said that
she was quite happy for us to sit on as long as we wanted after we had finished
our meal, because she was so pleased to find people who had not spent the whole
of their meal shouting into mobile phones, as her other guests often do. She is
appalled at the way these telephone conversations are conducted at high volume
without consideration for other diners, but said, “I can’t tell people they
mustn’t use their phones because I would lose too many customers if I
did”. Recently I heard the story of an
irate diner, who, plagued by the incessant loud mobile conversation at the
table next to his, had simply got up, grabbed the phone and thrown it into a large
bowl of flowers where it bobbed about helplessly. “You’ve spoilt my meal, “he
said, “so now I’m spoiling yours”. I
certainly often have a strong inclination to follow suit, but I’m not sure I
have this man’s courage.
appear to be very few people left who would still consider it rude to interrupt
a conversation with a friend to answer their phones. And if we increasingly ignore those that are physically close to us as we respond to the demands of those disembodied voices on our machines, what effect will that have on human relationships in the future?
Why the need, too, for so much hurry? We have
become slaves to these tiny machines.