September 15, 2003
Offline in a world with nowhere to hide
John Hatfield for Sunday Herald takes a dim view on modern mobile communication. He writes "that though these technologies are fantastic achievements, they are having a disastrous effect on the human psyche, creating an always-on world where users develop a kind of mobile Tourette's syndrome, unable to go more than a couple of minutes without checking their phone or sending an inane text." And you are reachable at all times, everywhere. To Hatfield, there is no place to hide today.
This reminded me of a somewhat related and fascinating interview of Derrick de Kerchove in TheFeature.com, published last year, where he discusses privacy concerns and how mobile phones are making people accountable for everything they do -- whether it's a spouse tracing a partner's moves or the government monitoring your activities – He compares this fear with the all-pervasive God of the Middle Ages.
"My approach to autonomy is the study of religion and the private subject. Nobody was safe from God in the Middle Ages. His eyes peered into your heart and always knew what you were doing at any time. This is the vision of the collective consciousness society. From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance there has been a hard-won independence of mind from the Church and State, a painful transformation from the collective to the private mind. Are we going to lose it to the mobile phone?"
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