Hey, phone-head!


Here’s a contribution to modern vocabulary: “phone-head”. You’ve seen people walking along the street, in an airport, or even while doing their job, say a barista, with their phone almost glued to their head? They are connecting with someone, but they’re also not-connecting. Not-connecting with everyone around them, not-connecting with the whole world that surrounds them. According to many ancient teachings, it’s the world around us that teaches us more than anything else; it’s what actually creates who we are, in the long run. The world surrounding us harbours a great deal of truth and importance in how well we get through our lives.

It once seemed strange to see someone walking along a beach, the waves rolling in, wind in their hair, sun heating us all… smoking a fag. No fresh air for me, no sir! they seem to announce. Today there are folks – having paid a month of their earnings to fly south, to soak up not only fresh air and warmth, but the scents and music carried in the air, maybe still with that fag between their lips – but now with a phone glued to their head!

Great thinkers, many wise men and women, have struggled to teach us to listen, to really listen to what the world around us is sending our way – sometimes pleasantly, the sound of wind through the fronds of a palm tree, and often not pleasant at all, but still carrying valuable information, wisdom, help…through life’s complexities.

A phone-head believes she/he is getting a message, getting information, or maybe just connecting with a friend… and they are. But they’re doing more. They are sending a message to everyone around them: I’m busy!
I have no interest in you or your purpose! Leave me alone! So, you wonder, busy with what? Well, busy with that phone. No?

And here’s a little advice on that count: why let yourself become second place? Especially second to a machine? Go ahead and interrupt! It may feel rude the first time, but soon you’ll notice that human-to-human communication works just fine – and
without the services of hundreds of dollars’ worth of wires, switches, and transmitters.
This is not a rant against iPhones.

It’s a rant against closing off others, closing off the world, and believing there’s nothing lost. My own rant here concludes with the observation that our phone-head habit is
costing us much more than we imagine. It turns this big, complex world into one big, closed door.