May 2, 2014

smartphones and glassboxes

 I really like how these 2 people are in a tiny glass box. Instead of focusing on the smartphone, let's think deeper into the roots of WHY people need smartphone to 'feel' busy, rather than bored, or connected rather than disconnected.
1. Obviously as more and more people live in big cities rather than small communities in the countryside, they end up living in tiny boxes, called "flats/apartment/student room", they also have to put up with working in tiny boxes: cubicles, little desk in high glass boxes (skyscrapers?), they commute from their home box to their job box, in little boxes named cars, or metro/bus. Even babies are put in boxes: strollers
What can people DO in tiny boxes? they can neither walk, nor run, nor dance, maybe they can go the the big box (mall) and shop. Some people go to an exercise box (the gym) but most people find it too dull, and get bored. Boredom is sourced in the LACK of sensual stimulation of our dull box environment. And to reclaim sensual stimulation, movies, pictures and music is available 24/7 on our smartphones.
2. Freedom, Most fun exercise takes space: football/rugby, swimming, tennis, biking, golfing, etc can neither be done in tiny boxes, nor in big overcrowded ones. People need some space to move, unrestrained, for the same reason a free range chicken is superior to a caged one, people who roam free tend to feel better than boxed ones.
So people feel overcrowded, at least subconsciously, and to regain their personal freedom space, they turn to Internet, social networks, a virtually infinite place where they have all room to be themselves, rather than a number in a box.
3. Even though people may share big overcrowded space like a train wagon at rush hour, there is no feeling of personal relationship because these are fleeting moments and no one can see exactly the same people everyday in one's wagon, bar exceptions (but notice how we tend to get to know each other in this case)
Or those big places, like an open office are an apartment building are divided in small boxes (cubicle, flats), so that people don't interact and don't have to be social, or are discouraged to socialize (for productivity sake). Then again Internet and 'social' networks provide the solution by reconnecting disconnected urban dwellers with each other. It is also interesting to see more and more former city dwellers (like me), who keep connection to urban life (intellectuals, arts, people) through Internet, while moving to the countryside which is geographically disconnected from universities, governments and museums.