>Cellphone Files (Para sa mga Adik Mag-text)

>I am the texter of the first order. I always feel like holding my cellular phone and texting day in and day out. I feel uneasy whenever I do not have a balance left on my prepaid account. I like to meet new textmates, mostly strangers or friends of friends. I joined the “text brigade” when Globe Telecom changed the rate of their unlimited texting. (Bring it back to 50 pesos you greedy morons!). I am against the absurd idea of the desperate regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of imposing an additional tax on text messages to save the neck of the economic condition of Juan de la Cruz. I, together with million other cellphone-dependent Filipinos, make those giant telecommunication networks richer everyday by biting into their bait of telecommunication consumerism. We are the reason why the Philippines was once called the “texting capital of the world.”

Cellphone was invented to make communication easier. It was made to help and not to destroy man. But like any inventions, breakthroughs, and discoveries to help man, if misused and abused, would lead to unpleasant and sometimes, immoral consequences

We all know the stories. How many families have been broken because of jealousy over a textmate who is a suspected (another) lover? How many marriages have ended easily because of “irreconcilable differences” – a result of not knowing each other thoroughly because they (spouses) had their courtship thru text messaging? How many texters on public place have risk their lives in defending their mobile phones against snatchers and robbers? How many texters have died or have been injured because a train or a vehicle hits them because they are texting while walking? How many seminarians have been reprimanded because they smuggled and used their cellphones inside the seminary, which is strictly prohibited? 

These are their stories. These are our stories. These are the files of transforming the cellular phone from boon into bane. All because of its abuse and misuse.

I am writing this part not with an ink of the ribbon of our dot matrix LX-300 printer but with my own blood. I still feel pathetic over the fact that I do not have my cassock now. This was a result of committing a violation against the rule of the seminary. No cellular phones inside. Period. An abuse and misuse of something that is good. (“Boys, cellphone is not an immoral thing” says my rector).

When you lose something that is of value, a part of you also loses value. A part of you is present to the thing you value. I value my cassock, my hard-earned cassock. I passed series of evaluation and comprehensive examination before I received it. I felt like losing my own self to the fact that I lost something which is of great value to me. I feel wretched and useless. I feel so down and lonely. A part of me is incomplete. I wish that one day I would be whole again. Please return my cassock.

Man experiences loneliness and incompleteness in his life. He always long for his own satisfaction. He always makes new things to fill up what is lacking in him. Cellphone was invented to fill up his dissatisfaction in the means of communication. But man, in his constant dissatisfaction, will never find satisfaction. He would still invent many other things to make him “satisfied” but will never find it. There is an infinite longing. He would never be satisfied even with his fellow human being.

Man is condemned to be free. In his exercise of freedom, he will develop a horizontal axis with his fellow human being, but because of dissatisfaction and infinite longing, he would change from horizontal axis to vertical axis – a dialectic bond with God. Only in God can man find the satisfaction he needs.

We cellphone and text addicts isolate ourselves from society and from the whole world by attaching and associating ourselves. A twenty first century alienation of man. Quite ironic isn’t it? What would Karl Marx say had he been alive today?

To be a cellphone and text addict means being hooked on your mobile phone. Fingers glued on the keypad, sending and receiving (senseless) messages from time to time. We alienate ourselves from the true means of communication – to communicate to others personally. We focus our attention on the small screen of our mobile phones even though we are talking personally to someone in front of us (much to the dismay of the foreigners to us Filipinos). 

We focus on things rather than on persons. The “it” being is lower than the “I” and “other” being. We must not degrade ourselves of being human and becoming inhuman by focusing on the “it” being. Cellphones and other things are made for the comfort of man and not the other way around. We humans are not created for the cellphones.

These are our stories. These are the realities behind the cellphone files of cellphone revolution and transformation. Impossible as it may seem, but what if one day, the cellphones would come to life like the robots in the movie transformers and make all of us earthlings their slaves? An absurdity? Too futuristic? Metaphysically speaking, thinkability means possibility. If that apocalypse happens, can we call God using our cellphones?

This article was written on January 10 2008 during the height of my suffering for the consequences of smuggling a cellular phone inside the seminary. This is also serves as my reflection paper for the subject Philosophy of Man.
I have decided to post and share this article, together with my other Philosophy papers in order for you to have a glimpse of the “practicality” of Philosophy and to share my insights when I was still inside the institution.
I believe that philosophy, despite of being called impractical and a “boring subject”, is the key on answering the timeless inquiry of man about life and a great tool for having a meaningful and reflected life.

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