Man on mobile phone

Above: Man with mobile phone. Credit: Markus Spiske.

Man on mobile phone

Above: Man with mobile phone. Credit: Matheus Silva.

Man on mobile phone

Above: Man with mobile phone. Credit: Hilary Clark.

Man on mobile phone

Above: Man with mobile phone. Credit: Kate Trysh.

Man on mobile phone

Above: Man with mobile phone. Credit: Clem Onojeghuo.

Calais

Above: Calais, France "the jungle," refugee camp, 2016. Credit: Malachy Browne.

Mobile Telephony

Smartphone use (and checking) has become a toxic and debilitating trans-national fixation, obsession, and addiction. The smartphone user is harnessed to a treadmill of real-time (or world time or live time). It is a mode of experience that is restricting and limiting: opposed by authentic experience; by local time; and by historical time (an authentic historical context). The mobile-phone has become our preoccupation, under the "the ideology of progress," we are "preoccupied with progress and perpetually occupied by it (ADF: 47)." The mobile-connected human is no longer much defined by being resident of a certain locale or even a certain State in an era in which the social body has been reduced to a "state of advanced decay (GA: 37)." What emerges then is a scene of communications dominated by de-localization and disconnectedness in which "something essential is being definitively lost, a relationship to places and reality is disappearing, dissolving, evaporating (ADF: 73)." The picture is dominated by polarized experiences of de-localization: the Western--developed world--mobile-phone-user who chooses mobility is opposed by the nomad--migrant/asylum-seeker/refugee--who is also de-localized and displaced. In the latter case this is not a tech-based benefit but a human plight. The mobile phone user is "everywhere at home," (on the train, at the airport, etc.), whereas the the nomad is "nowhere at home (UD: 97)."

Another basic detrimental impact of the mobile-phone at the level of the ordinary life should not be overlooked: people wander the streets peering down at their devices and don't look where they are going. People cannot walk in a straight-line anymore, they stop short every few metres to gaze down at their device without warning. It is getting very hazardous just to walk down the street. The scene of human pedestrians on the city street is like watching an avant-garde modern dance performance replete with halting-bizarre unsteady bodily lurches and jolts.