What is life without cell phones

Readers ask Peter Schneider - Can you live without a cell phone?

The answer to a reader who refuses to use digital services and therefore questions himself.

I don't have a cell phone and have never used a streaming service and mine without being able to live without them. I would have to I.Would you like to see a psychiatrist? M.L.

Dear Mr. L.

Of course, you don't have to see a psychiatrist; but you know that yourself too. If you can live without a cell phone and streaming services, then it has been proven that you can. You can live without a cell phone as you can live without a refrigerator. You then buy at short notice and consume the perishable goods within a short period of time. You have to pay far more attention to shopping and storage than to using a refrigerator. Some see it as an increase in mindfulness in their everyday life; for me it would be especially difficult.

An everyday thing like a refrigerator enables a certain way of life, or its non-existence enables (and enforces) a different way of life. We are connected to the things that surround us (washing machines, smartphones, computers, radios, etc.) in a network of actors. The term was developed since the 1980s, among others by Bruno Latour. The interesting thing about this concept is that things are not simply viewed as neutral tools, but rather as something that forms a unit with human actors.

A typewriter, like a cell phone, is a very social thing.

The relationship between human and mobile phone is different from that between human and washing machine, but in both cases it is a combination of different elements that are best understood together in their interaction and the resulting joint actions. A person and a mechanical typewriter also form such a community. The keyboard is arranged to facilitate typing using the touch system; on the other hand, it forces people to acquire the ten-finger system, so that ultimately the typewriter and the person result in a well-functioning actor.

A typewriter, like a cell phone, is a very social thing; The human typewriter or the human cell phone are hybrid units in the large social network, which in turn consists of other small and large networks - such as streaming services, televisions, tablets, public and private radio. You can even gain social distinction from not participating in some of these networks. Think of the proud admission of 1960s academics not to own a television. The smartphone has taken the place of the television in this regard. But as a self-confessed no-cellphone-human player, one no longer necessarily makes a very big impression.

The psychoanalyst Peter Schneider answers questions about the philosophy of everyday life. Send us your questions to [email protected]

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