Gadget Addiction: Do We Need a Cure?

I recently ditched my iPhone 3G.

I know – many of you are thinking, “Are you insane?” Well, the obvious answer aside (yes), I think I’m actually quite sane, perhaps getting saner by the minute.

Then again, I’ve also found myself recently trolling the interwebs looking at slightly used MacBook Pros and various size Apple Cinema displays and Sony Blu-Ray players on deep discount and tiny digital cameras that attach to a watch-like-band and laser pointers that also double as thermometers and iPads and Samsung Galaxies and just about darn near anything that runs on lithium powered batteries and has an LCD screen as an integral design feature.

In short, I’m on the verge of becoming a gadget addict. Thank God I don’t make a lot of money, as financial insufficiency is the only thing standing between me and the purchase of two or three hundred shiny new toys.

But I’m beginning to wonder just how much value these nifty doodads are adding to my life. The iPhone didn’t exactly revolutionize my telecommunications, unless you count the distinct ability to hang up or mute people with my cheek. I’ve also not seen much in the way of radical improvement for my writing skills since I upgraded to the latest Microsoft Office version. In fact, none of the fancy writing softwares I’ve ever downloaded or purchased did a dang thing to make me better or get me published, despite the smooth-talking marketing copy in the ads.

And I’ve noticed lately that we’re all a little too attached to our gadgets and gizmos. To the point of shifting cultural values. I know you can make a chicken-egg argument here, but I sincerely believe that technology has driven the shift away from personal interaction: I mean, why deal with people face to face when you can just email or text them?

Why physically bully a kid at school when you can just flame him on Facebook?

Why actually go out on a date with someone who might reject you when you can hide behind your avatar and flirt for hours on end and then find a nice piece of porn somewhere?

Why do anything that involves the fragility of human relations when we can all just hide behind our gadgets and live in a virtual utopia?

Look, I’m no idiot. I text my wife non-stop on my slick little Samsung Intensity 2 with the slideout keyboard. I watch Criminal Minds on my Sony LCD TV and post snappy little blogs from any one of my 3 MacBook computers. I’m not suggesting we go all paleolithic on tech and revert back to grunting and clubbing each other with sticks as our primary means of communicating.

But I am asking the bigger question: do we need to be saved from our increasingly inward journey into all things tech?

Do we need a gadget Messiah to save us from ourselves?

I don’t know the answer, but I’m beginning to worry that the answer is yes…

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