Byung-Chul Han, in his recent work, Undinge, speaks about how children get stuffies as a sort of transitional object—it helps them feel safe until they are ready for the real world. They talk to the stuffy, play with it, hug it. It’s soft and they feel its softness.
The Smartphone, in contrast, has a hard surface, and so we feel our own presses. It presents to us what we want, when we want. It’s not a digital teddy bear that remains always the bear, not shifting with our whims. The smart does though. Unlike the teddy whom we keep for years, we replace smartphones. There is no permenance.
So the smartphone rather being a transitional object—is instead a lens to feel ourself, our fingers, our thoughts, our desires. We press into it, we feel it, not the softness of the teddy bear.
We are like children who cannot transition to the real world, since the smartphone mediates the world. It does so giving us more of ourselves. It’s a narcissitic device, in which and through which we experience ourselves.
It, for this reason, eliminates empathy, since we begin to only feel ourselves, not others. One wonders why social media leads to cruel words and fights. Here is *an* answer.
The narcissism of the phone, of the digital world, makes us unaware of others since our entire digital experience is meant to shape reality to our whims.
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