Whatever happened to contemplation?

| December 3, 2013

Most of us can’t imagine a life without a mobile phone. Leicester Warburton can, and he wishes more people would remember the gentle art of contemplation.

I have this mental block. I can’t use a mobile phone. No, really. Computers and the internet? I’m adequate. Ordinary hand-sets? I operate with charm. But mobiles? I have this overwhelming desire to choke people.

I went on the last ride of the Sydney Monorail a few weeks ago just for old times sake to get that elevated view of the busy city streets for that final experience and it was great… so much so I did two complete circuits. But at one stop three apparently complete strangers got on. Presumably they were riding for the one last time pleasure like me. But what happened? One was already talking on his mobile and the other two whipped out their phones as soon as they were seated and continued to talk for the whole of their rides. And they weren’t commentaries or descriptions in what I could hear. They were gossip, trite fragments.

When I travel to town by ferry it is the same. I am the only person not talking on a mobile. I have found it is possible to be lonely in a crowd. But what happened to contemplation, the gentle art of review and consideration, of appreciation of all the joys of daily living and what may be the only truly habitable planet in our universe? What happened to quiet?

The outrageously inconsiderate intrusion of mobiles ringing in concerts or all kinds of public performances has already been well documented. Some rudely interrupted solo presentations have spoilt it for the entire audience.

I’ve tried to learn to use ta mobile, mainly for the sake of my children. Each time, by the end of the first week, I’ve forgotten. I haven’t checked messages and the battery is flat. I’ve forgotten to put it in my pocket or I forget where I put it. It will be no surprise to you that I lost one and couldn’t have cared less. Psychologists would say I wanted to lose it subconsciously and they’re probably right.

And don’t talk to me about mobile use while driving a car. Can anything be so important that using a mobile could be responsible for your death? Or somebody else’s tragic demise? But that’s how the addiction of using mobile phones can overrule rationality.

As for mobile conversations imposed in loud voices on disinterested third parties! Deny, if you can, this rude and inconsiderate intrusion on nearby people with not the slightest interest in “what I said to Angela”.

I acknowledge that a mobile can be helpful in an emergency but I believe that it is one risk I am more than ever prepared to take. And I’ve forgotten my number.