In daily life we all see the examples of people that are glued to their phones. All captured in their own worlds. Invisible and not really there. What is that thing that is staring back at us? Knowing everything about us and holding us prisoner? It all reminds me of a certain Ring.
Only one man saw Messi
Today I saw a picture of a cheering Lionel Messi. He had just scored a beautiful goal and ran towards his supporters to celebrate. Only ONE man really saw him. The other supporters were staring at their phones trying to capture the moment. Probably to share it in their social media networks. It was like they were not really there and did not just witness the phenomenon run past them.
Recently I was at a concert of the legendary band Toto. Half the people there were staring at their phones. Some were constantly taking pictures or taping the entire concert. Others were reading all kinds of stuff on their small screens. The guy in front of me was even watching random videos on YouTube.
We all see the examples of people that are glued to their phones. All captured in their own worlds. Invisible and not really there.
Somehow the modern smartphone reminds me of the famous One Ring from Lord of the Rings.
“A person wearing the Ring would enter a shadowy world revealing the physical world from a different aspect, from which physical objects were harder to see. The wearer was mostly invisible to ordinary beings, such as Men, but highly visible to the Nazgûl. The Ring dimmed the wearer’s sight, while at the same time sharpening the other senses.
The Ring slowly but inevitably corrupted its bearer, regardless of the bearer’s initial intent. For this reason the Wise, including Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel, refused to wield it themselves, but determined instead that it should be destroyed. “ Source: Wikipedia
I think we are all slowly becoming smartphone-bearers. Entering a shadowy world from which physical objects are harder to see. We become invisible to other people but highly visible to the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple, Alibaba and Amazon. The phones slowly but inevitably corrupt us. We are being eaten from the inside. Remember what the Ring did to Bilbo and Frodo?
Eye of Sauron
The modern tech giants like Facebook, Google, Apple, Alibaba and Amazon sometimes remind me of the ‘all seeing eye of Sauron’.
“But Sauron was not of mortal flesh, and though he was robbed now of that shape in which had wrought so great an evil, so that he could never again appear fair to the eyes of Men, yet his spirit arose out of the deep and passed as a shadow and a black wind over the sea, and came back to Middle-earth and to Mordor that was his home. There he took up again his great Ring in Barad-dur, and dwelt there, dark and silent, until he wrought himself a new guise, an image of malice and hatred made visible; and the Eye of Sauron the Terrible few could endure.” Source: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion
Was Tolkien trying to warn us?
Was Tolkien warning us for the smartphone age? For the magic spell the tech giants cast on us? I like to think he was. No, I don’t want you to throw your phone into a volcano just yet. And I am not saying the technology giants are pure evil. They are just companies making money. Just look in the mirror a little more often and make sure you don’t start to look too much like the poor Sméagol.
Get out of your cave, put away your ‘precious’ for a while and start walking upright.