September 25, 2013
Saw that 9 million folks spent part of their weekend buying the latest and greatest iPhone. A lot of them even stood in line to get it. I heard that the camera is better, and they added a new fingerprint reader security system that has apparently already been hacked by some German hacker named Starbug—I’m sure his mother is so proud. Rumors that he’s moved out of her basement remain unsubstantiated. I bring this matter to your attention to demonstrate what I feel is a growing epidemic in our society, people in need of a life.
Apparently a good number of the aforementioned newly minted iPhone 5S and 5C owners stood in line for hours waiting for their turn to boost their social status amongst an increasingly vapid peer group. Don’t these people have jobs? Apparently, owning a product so rich in features that a cloistered German feels compelled to dispel the myth of its efficiency constitutes “making it” in today’s world. I guess this focus on the trivial is part of a societal democratization in which all of us can be special in Siri’s eyes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the 5S or 5C are very nice smartphones, but at the end of the day that’s what they are, smartphones. The enhanced camera capability is probably tremendous, but are nine million people going to turn into Annie Leibovitz overnight? Certainly we have always been a covetous and envious society, and although these are hardly virtues anyone would openly subscribe to, it is hard to argue that the desire for the nicer car or bigger house has always served as a powerful motivator for people to work harder and strive to be more innovative than the next guy. However, when we begin to define ourselves by the technology we own to receive a telephone call or text, I think we might be setting the bar just a little too low.
It seems to me that when folks become fixated on the little things, they lose sight of the bigger picture in life. Shouldn’t one’s aspirations in life be greater than owning a cell phone that takes really nice pictures? I’m an uber capitalist, and I applaud company’s like Apple’s ability to deliver products that meet the demands of the market, but when people are standing in line to be the first in line to own one, it’s time for some folks to reevaluate their priorities. To some extent our German friend provides us with a more extreme version of this need for many of us to expand our horizons. Other than arch villains in comic books and terrorists, who defines their own self worth through their ability to destroy rather than create? It seems that our increasing willingness to expect and accept less of ourselves lends itself to a rather myopic worldview.
How someone spends their time or defines success are personal choices. What is acceptable to one individual is not necessarily so for another. My concern is that it seems like more and more of us are increasingly focused on defining ourselves based on the trivial and accepting less from and for ourselves. Hunkering down is certainly a strategy, but I dare say that it is no way to live a life.