I do not own a cellphone. This puts me in the 1-5% bracket of college students in America that don’t own cellphones, I assume. By my observation and extrapolation, the minority is really that small.

And, yes, that is a problem.

Cellphones aren’t bad. They are tools. But a carpenter doesn’t need the same tools that a baker does. Their tool sets are completely different. This analogy works. As individual humans, we each have different situations that require different resources.

Some of us need two vehicles, due to family size and frequent transportation and distance away from a city. Others of us live in cities run by metro, and don’t need cars at all. Some of us need high tech camera equipment for work, some of us just need a shirt and tie.

We all need things other people don’t. And we also DON’T need things that other people do.

And most of us don’t need cellphones.

My friends who have cellphones have occasionally said to me that their phone was annoying at times, distracting, a burden. They wished people would stop texting them. They wished they didn’t have to have it in their pocket, indefinitely just about to ring.

Some of them truly needed their phones, because they often went places without their parents and needed to call them to let them know details and arrange things.

Personally, I have never needed to or wanted to go somewhere that my parents couldn’t take me. I have never felt the need to go somewhere when they were too busy to drive me there. Where do I need to go? Either friends can pick me up, my parents can take me, or I don’t need to go.

And what else would I need a phone for but to contact my parents or friends when arranging something like this?

I have skype, which is just as good or better than any calling on a cellphone. I have email, which is just as good or better than any texting on a cellphone.

In an emergency, a true emergency, no one could come quickly enough for me to need a phone. In a non-emergency, everything can wait.

We are addicted to immediate knowledge, obsessed with instant access to anyone, anything, anytime, anywhere. We are dependent on our tools.

We are like carpenters that carry sawdust in our pockets, we are like bakers who keep pictures of bread in our wallets. We are humans mastered by our cellphones, our tools.

But are they tools if we don’t use them well? Are they tools if they control us more than we control them?

And cellphones cost money. Every month. More money. More more more. I refuse to pay for something that has far more negative effects than positive. I refuse to pay for something that will most likely control me, to some degree.

Some people need cellphones, and they better master themselves so they can use them wisely. They are a powerful tool. Just like a saw, it is useful until you cut your hand off.

But most people don’t need cellphones. All of humanity lived totally fulfilled and efficient and productive lives without cellphones for hundreds, thousands of years. Surely humanity isn’t becoming weaker? Surely our dependence on cellphones is self-inflicted?

I am in the minority. In America. But I surmise that worldwide there are far more people whose problems couldn’t be solved with a cellphone. Hunger. Thirst. Disease. Cold.

We don’t need cellphones. Are they really worth the cost. They cost money, energy, attention, peace, time…

I may buy one eventually. But I will refrain as long as possible.

Because WANT isn’t NEED. Because the NORM isn’t my STANDARD. Because my TOOLS are not my MASTERS.

I am free.


Further reading:

Two months without a phone
Why to get rid of your phone


8 thoughts on “Phones

  1. I wish I could get rid of my cell phone. I miss the days before it. I hope that I can at least figure out a way to cart my son on a bike so that we can at least use less gas by biking to close destinations. Small food shopping trips instead of one big one and more exercise. I’ve looked into a tandem extension for the better weather; I hope it works.

    • If you need it, keep it. But try to leave it off as much as possible, and don’t take it with you if you don’t plan on using it.

      I’ve read on multiple blogs that biking and walking for short but more frequent shopping trips has worked for different people. No reason not to try!

      Public transport is also an option if that would work better.

      • I’ve got an eldery grandfather, a special needs son, and I use it to schedule for work, so no off for me. On the bright side, I rarely use it outside of work. Half of the time I have to actually call it to find it. I also use it as a back up mp3 player for my runs (which I usually designate as phone free time).

      • You have no reason to regret having a phone then, and it sounds like you have solid control over it. That is definitely the exception, unfortunately. As a random side note, I’ve heard that for longer runs an ebook works better than songs since songs are all at different paces and at such short intervals and can mess up a consistent pace. Anyway, that only really matters if you desire to run at a certain level, and if you run for longer distances (not sure how long would qualify though). Anyway, as I said, random side note.

      • Yea, they do mess with pace, but mine is pretty consistent. I’m only racing me so I rather have a fun 14 mile run than a fast one πŸ™‚ I get so lost in my head, I wouldn’t be able to follow the story.

  2. I have just started on my minimalist journey as well.

    This is one tough cookie that I am not able to crack. Yet.

    I’ll soon probably. Thanks for the inspiration, though!

    Great writing, mate. Short sentences. Crisp sentences. And meaningful sentences.

    I just started on my journey. Would love a feedback πŸ™‚

    • I started about a year ago, unintentionally, before I knew what I was getting myself into. πŸ˜› But it meshes with my personality so well that I inevitably fell fully into it after a while. Don’t try to do too much at once, and simply enjoy it! Not everything works for every person at every stage of life. Do the easiest things first.

      For me the hardest thing is simplifying mental clutter. It’s going to be a lifelong struggle, it seems. But that’s okay. I know the challenge, that’s half the battle won already.

      My pleasure, thanks for reading! πŸ™‚ I will happily give as much feedback as I can.

  3. I agree. Too much at once, might just destroy the whole purpose of this thing.

    Oh, I agree. Mental Clutter is hardest. Pressured by societal perceptions and what not. Relations. Past. Worry. Future. Too much.

    Anytime man! Waiting for your comments and feedback!

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