I normally automate some of my reading commentaries, which generally means that these posts only point to one article. In this instance, I had two articles that played off each other so perfectly, I was unable to separate my thoughts about them into two posts.
I read all of Ben Brooks items that are open to the public and have often toyed with the idea of becoming a member because he and I see eye-to-eye on a lot. I feel him on this one.
And this was never more evident than my recent internal debates about whether or not I should get an Apple Watch series 4 to try out — and no I won’t be getting one. Because the more you think about the Apple Watch, the more you realize that it exacerbates the problem — you have to choose: do you want to relax, or do you want to be more connected? If you want to relax, or have any hope in doing so, you need to get rid of your phone and Apple Watch as best as you can.
However, it was right around the time I read this that two things happened almost simultaneously: I started helping Nash with his Apple Watch post and I ordered an Apple Watch Series 3 (currently in the mail). From Nash:
It’s becoming increasingly popular to have a little screen on your wrist, but as I ask around — those who own the Apple Watch and those who don’t — there’s a misconception of what its ultimate purpose is. If it was just an extension to your phone, there wouldn’t be much of a point to owning one.
You should go read both of these posts because they each are great. I am acutely aware of the dichotomy they respresent. Ben makes a good point about the two-faced nature of current technology discussions, wherein human beings both complain about the overabundance of information and the lack of fact-checking while staying as connected and reliant on that same information as ever. On the other side of the discussion is Nash, who has put forethought and effort into simplifying his daily life through technology. He discusses legitimate use cases for his Apple Watch and, in the most powerful portion of his post, addresses the very misconception that I believe leads people to use the Apple Watch in the way that Ben detests.
In a conversation with Nash recently, I suggested the following: “Every decision is about priorities.” I believe that whole heartedly. Since I don’t prioritize having the newest or shiniest thing, I don’t usually buy brand new technology for my personal use. Since I prioritize minimalism and ecology, I buy things of quality that are meant to last. In this instance, I can agree with both of these posts because my priorities align with both.
I see the Apple Watch as a tool; one that must be wrangled, but inevitably leads to a more efficient use of my time and energy. Therefore, I agree with Nash’s assertion that there is utility (and sustained growing utility in the tool). I have taken many of the seemingly clichéd steps to calm my phone and watch habits, such as turning off many of my notifications and leaving whole social networks behind because of their noise. I have even stopped the Health features from notifying me for this reason. I use my Watch for the things that I prioritize, not what the Watch prioritizes for me. Therefore, I agree with Ben that there is a problem with tech addiction and the Apple Watch can be an extension of that problem.
There is no better reason to not do something
There is no better reason to try
There is no better reason to fight
Against tyranny and strife
Removal is often the goal
Removal is often the challenge
Removal is often not enough
To completely fix what hangs in the balance
But it can bring about great change
But it can bring light
But it can bring great joys
In the darkness of the night
And so I live with friction
And so I live with what is hard
And so I live with what I love
But I stay upon my guard