An Experiment in Human Omnipresence

A little over a dozen years ago, an experiment was launched. I don’t think anyone called it an experiment, but it turns out to have become one. The smartphone was introduced: The iPhone. 

In one way, it was an experiment in human omnipresence. At any moment now, I can check in on just about anyone or anything. The increase in information access does not appear to have been met with an increase in wisdom. 

A while back, I decided that my iPhone was a little too omnipresent, so I began with a small change in my habits. In the evening, when it came time to charge my phone, I put it in my downstairs office so that I did not have it at my bedside when I awoke. 

At first, I felt a little nervous about not having an alarm, so I bought an inexpensive, plug in clock. I had sometimes read a Kindle book on my iPhone, but began to use my Kindle device instead. 

When I rose in the morning, I wasn’t checking email or social media as my first act of the day. Instead, I would rise, make myself a cup of home-roasted coffee, then enjoy some time reading scripture and praying first. I might even engage a work project next before finally picking up my iPhone. 

What I learned is that a smartphone is a very powerful servant, but a tyrannical master. 

On Monday, our latest Unhurried Living podcast posted: Managing Our Omnipresent Smartphones. In it, I share more about my journey with managing my smartphone use. If you haven’t already listened to it, I think you’d find it helpful. 

For Reflection: 

  • How omnipresent is your smartphone these days? 
  • One way to test your emotional dependence on this device is to set aside some length of time when you turn it off. How do you feel when you do this? 
  • If you don’t already, what might it be like to begin your day smartphone-free?

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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