Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Why Are Cell-Phones So Ubiquitous? Ask a Monkey!

I have a theory about cell-phones' extravagant popularity. It is that cell-phones are surrogates for the instantaneous communication of the simian/hominid ’tribe.’

If you’ve ever been around groups (troops/bands/tribes) of our less evolved relatives, in zoos, for instance, one is struck by the almost incessant noise. The only time they're quiet is when they're asleep. Otherwise, the screeching, chattering by-play is endless. It’s the same in jail: the din of conversation never ceases, making sleep a matter of practice rather than weariness…

These conversations serve one pre-eminent purpose: they represent and reproduce customary hierarchical orders, and re-inforce the position, but also the membership, of the individual in the pack. Cell-phones serve the purposes of binding pack/troop/band solidarity through the (virtual) connections that are lost when individuals are forced, culturally, to depart from their secure, identity-binding groups. By staying in direct contact with their identity-groups, cell-phoners retain their group membership and gain continued reinforcement of their status.

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