“The average American teenager who uses a smart phone receives her first phone at age 10 and spends over 4.5 hours a day on it (excluding texting and talking). 78% of teens check their phones at least hourly and 50% report feeling ‘addicted’ to their phones. It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally. It is also no secret that social media sites and applications for which the iPhone and iPad are a primary gateway are usually designed to be as addictive and time-consuming as possible, as many of their original creators have publicly acknowledged.”
Tag: Amusing Ourselves to Death
For those who are not privy to nerdy, futuristic dystopian science fiction movies, Soylent Green is a classic. By today’s standards, it’s an awful movie (maybe even by that day’s standards as well). It’s pretty bad. Regardless, the plot is of particular interest here.
Released in 1973, the movie portrays a time in the future, specifically the year 2022, when the population of New York City (one slice of the world’s total population at the time) has exploded to a massive 40,000,000 people. Resources are scarce (especially food), poverty is rampant, streets are crowded, and all power has been consolidated into the hands of the government to control the masses of people who are out of control. Because of the lack of food, a company used by the government, Soylent Corporation, produces high-energy ration wafers that the people can consume for nutrition. There is Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow and a new product, Soylent Green. Long story short (here’s a spoiler), Soylent Green turns out to be processed dead people. It’s a sort of secret, government-sponsored recycling program. Yeah gross.
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.’ In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
Excerpt from the book Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.