Sunday, August 23, 2015

Why I Don't Have a Smartphone

I don't have a smartphone.  I don't watch new television programs, seldom see new movies, though a few on DVD.  I don't know who the celebrities are that the supermarket tabloids and their internet counterparts get all exercised about.  I don't listen to new pop music.  And so on.

This fits the profile for my age, and a lot of it surely is about age. But it's not mindless.  Some of it is about exploring past music etc. I missed, or in more depth, and some about revisiting books, tv shows etc. for what they now say that's different from the first times around. Or reminding me who I was then, and maybe who I forgot I was since.

Of course, that I don't like a lot of new TV, music and movies does make it easier to ignore.

 Apart from the comfort level, there's the tendency to want to have a deeper experience and find more meaning in what flashed by in the past.  That seems like the natural work, play and purpose of being this age, and in sound enough mind to try feeling the breadth and depth of my whole life while I've got it.

 (And in fact I use some new technology in these activities.  But why should I give up the advantages of the desktop computer just because they aren't fashionable anymore? Or the stereo, the record player?  Or the physical book off the physical shelf ?)

Though I take a certain amount of elder abuse for skepticism of new technologies and so on (which, by the way, I also exhibited when younger), I have my additional reasons. There's expense v. utility, for example. As interesting or enhancing as they might be, smartphones and multimedia packages are too expensive for what I need.  Besides, nobody calls me on the home phone or the flip phone now, so why would that be different? And the screen is too small and the sound too poor for much of anything else.

 So it's partly aesthetics, too: one of the major reasons that so far I haven't been able to bring myself to do Facebook is that it is so ugly.

Bad design, inferior materials also turn me off.  Some new tech is so obviously designed for younger eyes and fingers that it's the height of effrontery to expect I'd shamefacedly accept it.

The other element that is related to age is that the smartphone and related technologies are largely about marketing and selling things, and I'm not interested in that, nor are the marketers and sellers likely to be much interested in me.  In my demographic, and especially my income level.

 But there is a larger sense in which this is a choice, and I know what I'm doing.  What I am doing is concentrating on the past and the future.  The present makes its demands anyway, I don't have to cater to it.  People in youth and middle age, people with children or even actively involved with grandchildren, have reasons to keep up with the fast-changing present.  I don't, not nearly as much.

If I don't need to, I don't want to waste the time.  I am engaged in experiencing the past in more depth, and learning from it.  I apply that to concerns about the future.  Big concerns, about the big picture future.

That's my choice, my concentration, and it's meant to be my contribution.  It may well be futile.  Still, chances are a little better on something good coming of this, than from the distractions of the smartphone.