Beyond: 'for Lent'
Cephas: Tell me briefly - what initiated the process of wanting to change your iPhone to a basic phone that only enabled phone calls and texts?
Dan: Ummm... I guess... fundamentally, it was to challenge myself. We are, you know, just so used to having everything we need whenever, in this one place. I always find myself drawn to that place, as in, my phone.
I found myself, all the time, looking at my phone and I didn't want that anymore. It is such an easy comfort a lot of the time, almost to escape life in a way. Every night before I sleep, I always look at my phone instead of thinking about things, and I do the same when I wake up, instead of thinking and planning my day. In that sense I was kind of a false security.
I think its great that it helps us to communicate with each other but simplifying that. I wanted to remove all those distractions.
Cephas: When you were looking for a phone to replace your iphone - what did you look for? Were you searching for something simple?
Dan: The main thing was the change from my iPhone to what I have now. But I guess, I wanted something nice to look at. I didn't want to get an ugly phone. the simplicity of how it looks is the same as what it does - just the bare basics. This has no camera, this has no.... it has some stuff on it, such as a calculator.. I have also started using my table calculator. Yeah, I was just looking for something as simple as possible.
A camera or any add ons aren't necessarily bad things, but I didn't want to compromise the simplicity that I was after. If this phone had a camera and a qwerty keyboard and wifi capabilities, Im not really... I wanted it to be a real challenge.
Receiving a message or greeting from someone isn't this slick conversation that comes up on the screen. You almost receive an item and its the same when you send something. It almost heightens the value of communication and all the things we take for granted on our phones.
Cephas: How challenging has it really been? Replacing calendars with a physical diary, replacing notes with a pad and a pen, removing and all wifi/internet capabilities. Abstract technology with matter..?
Dan: The challenges have been - hardly there. Yeah, obviously everyone is different but I was almost looking forward to making this change so much, not just for lent - it was something I really wanted to do anyway so I was prepared for it.
Because in this day and age everyone is so connected in a virtual sense. There has been a couple of occasions where I have missed out of bits of information which meant that I was late to something. That was because it was on Facebook messenger a couple of hours before the event and I'm used to getting an instant notification if details were changed.
I still go on social media (on my laptop occasionally), but I haven't missed it being on my fingertips. I guess email is the only thing but even that, I access it on my laptop. It is so menial (instant access) that it is something that you get used to.
Cephas: In the world we live in today, aesthetics is (considered to be) predominantly pioneered and carried by technological advances. You want something that is good to look at, but also something that can do a thousand things, can give you access to so much of life at your fingertips. Do you think technology compromises, real aesthetics?
I think, yes. The new iPhone or technology, it has a particular look that we are accustomed to - its shiny or black or glass... but I think that is aesthetically pleasing but only regarding how something looks. But aesthetics isnt just that - aesthetics is how something appeals to all your senses.
Cephas: How has it improved your aesthetic engagement with life? How does your life still hold aesthetic value even though you have given up something that is a front-runner of aesthetic value in the world we live in today?
Dan: Its a hard one to pin down.. you can look a piece of technology such as an iPhone as the same (as physical things) - just a virtual version so there is no difference. But I feel that I am engaging more directly with what I am doing. There is no longer a mediator such as a touch screen or a wifi capability. When I use a pen, it is really there and you know, I can touch the writing and the ink has gone up and down on the page and it has created a mark. I'm engaging in a purer form.
I am also engaging with the outside world more purposefully. Im not tied down with, 'should I snapchat this' or share it on social media. We are very dependant on it and we miss out on a lot of chances to grow in areas such as memory, maths skills etc... ultimately the fact that life is physical. I think we are designed in a way that we need one-to-one and need real encounters to to benefit from relationships, which is the most important thing from me in making this change.