When my friend Staale Nataas pointed out that fitness guru Shawn Phillips had outlined what he thought the main differences between boys and men are, I took them straight to heart. I think it is an extremely accurate and brilliant list.
The first of the points on that list is that while men relate to technology as tools, boys relate to them as gadgets. My iPhone has made me realize how much I still relate to cool technology, at least much of it, as gadgetry. Just earlier today, I found myself downstairs in the basement about to put on my washing, and then realized I had brought my iPhone with me for no reason whatsoever. I was absolutely horrified!
It's just a damned phone with some extras on it, yet much of my time is spent with it, looking for it, making sure I have it with me etc. It has become my main source of distraction. When I use it as a boy, my vitality drops, my integrity dissipates, life force literally leaves my body, and I soon become really unhappy. So why do I do it? Because there's the promise of a short hit of instant gratification, finding that someone has written me with a satisfying e-mail or something cool has happened in the world. The addiction to sensory stimulation. But when I manage to switch my focus to using it as a tool, it becomes the source of vitality, integrity, and life force.
Could it be that our addiction to gadgets are holding as back in the realm of boyhood? Could it be that all those suits out there running around with their Blackberries are not at all that in a hurry to "stay abreast of things", that they're just trying to stay distracted from life and the deeper truths within? Could it be that capitalism by its very nature, and our suckering up to it, holds an entire generation of men back from realizing their potential? I don't know, but it sure doesn't look like I'm the only one with an unhealthy relationship to the technological marvels in my life.
It's the classic question, do we control technology or does technology control us? I personally think that it takes a pretty mature man to not be controlled by it. Which is why it is so essential to take breaks from it all and discover the deeper current within.
Anyway, what do you think - are gadgets a man's worst friend?