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Cell Phones Are Like Limbs; Take Them Away and You Still Feel the Vibration

Recently, a study covering ten different countries asked roughly 1,000 students to deprive themselves of their media for 24 hours; this included internet, games, news, television, and mobile phones.  Afterward, they were to write about the experience.  Here are some of their responses:

“I don’t write down notes on the paper, I don’t have a paper calendar, I don’t even have a grocery list on paper.  Everything is in my phone.”  – Slovakia

“I’m so obsessed with checking my cell phone and my Facebook and the New York Times Web site, that I lose track of the people who are physically with me.” – USA

“I had the feeling that something was vibrating and I thought it was my cell and I began to search for it, and found nothing.”  – Mexico

That last one feels rather chilling: like phantom limb syndrome, even without the cell phone, the sensation was still there.  But should we be concerned?

According to Extended Mind thesis authors Andy Clark and David Chalmers, professors at Edinburgh and Australian National University, concern is not warranted.  As with the lament Plato once issued over the ability to write, “[writing] will produce forgetfulness in the souls of those who will have learned it…” cell phones should be viewed as an extension of our capabilities, not a hindrance to them.  Besides, as pointed out by the (from where I gathered this information), we are also highly dependent upon electricity and no one is talking about that.