Time to Ditch the Smart Phone?

By David Perez

Our struggle for social justice takes on many forms, and with COVID threatening to become a forever phenomenon enforced with increasingly extreme measures, our fight back strategies might need to be creatively extreme too.

But extremes can come in seemingly little acts.

For starters, might it be time for us to ditch our smart phones? Replace them with either flip phones, or just return to land lines? Make the agenda of the corporate and political elite, particularly those supposedly for our health, harder to implement?

Might smart phones and their hundreds of apps, many of which are undoubtedly cool and useful, have gotten to the point (perhaps long past the point) where they now serve the oppressors far more than they serve us? Where our habit of evaluating the benefits of a technology in strictly personal terms has been trumped by its use for economic, political, social, and militarized control?

Might we stop feeling that high tech is a juggernaut that we’re helpless to control?  Smart enough to throw away the very tools used to repress and dominate us?

Taking it further, might we expand our resistance to becoming less dependent on the Internet? Embark on a massive campaign to take long holidays away from predatory behemoths like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter? Take a breather from a world ruled by algorithms, a world where our self-worth is measured in digital likes and shares? Yes, many of us have been forced to become more reliant on programs like Zoom and other digital and social media platform in order to connect, communicate, and earn a living. Some of us have grown to even like this type of reality.

Yet, might we be trading one health crisis for another? Getting used to—and even happy with—having less physical contact with our fellow human being? Living in a virtual world, glued to an electronic screen, functioning in high-speed time, our thinking process permanently rewired?

Aren’t these things major health issues also? And as with smart phones, might all this be serving the oppressors more than us?

David Perez is a writer, journalist, activist, and actor, born in the South Bronx in New York City and currently living in Taos, New Mexico

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