• 01 DEC 06
    • 0

    #596: A technological Cargo Cult

    The weblog version of this message is at:

    While searching on Google for a BBC article, titled: “Gadgets blamed for headaches: A growing number of people suffer from headaches and nausea brought on by exposure to electrical equipment.” I came across an old article from Russia. Though written in the Russian context “gadget addiction” is a global phenomenon .

    It reminds me of what my father experienced while serving as a photographer in the US Airforce when they were building remote airfields in New Guinea and the Soloman Islands in WWII. Many of the Indigenous natives had never seen white men before and became fascinated with the amazing array of gadgets that came in the magical flying machines. When the air force abandoned the bases after the war the natives tried to get them back by making wireless phones and antenna towers out of wood. They should have contracted out to Motorola……

    See: http://www.afa.org/magazine/1991/0191cargo.asp


    New modern phenomenon of gadget addiction ruins families
    Pravda, November 2, 2004


    The uncontrollable desire to buy all new appliances without any reasons is the most explicit symptom of this sickness

    Addiction to technical novelties has become a new phenomenon of the modern civilization. A lot of people spend too much time walking around the stores that sell electronic goods, carefully examining everything from cell phones and iPods to fridges and washing machines. This addiction may become as strong as gambling “” when people aim all their efforts to get hold of new devices, which are usually not cheap at all. The obsessive wish to buy technical novelties may lead to family conflicts. As a rule, wives strongly object to their husbands’ wishes to buy a new plasma TV-set, a super slim laptop or a recordable DVD player, for instance. Women would rather enjoy new clothes or a week on holiday somewhere in a warm country.

    The new up-to-date form of psychological dependence has not been studied thoroughly yet. Western scientists call it the “gadget addiction.” Psychologists determined that over-indulgence to technical devices may lead to mental disorder. The uncontrollable desire to buy all new appliances without any reasons is the most explicit symptom of this sickness. In addition, some individuals spend hours and days examining a new purchase, trying to sort out all of its functions and buttons. The process makes such people forget about everything else, including food and sex. Gadget addiction can bring a lot of trouble to family couples: a gadget-addicted spouse “” usually a man – stops paying enough attention to his wife and even tries to avoid intimacy with her.

    A European company conducted a market research a year ago. Spokespeople for the company decided to find out, how many Europeans were going to acquire a DVD player in the near future. It was just a common market research, although the results of it became quite surprising. As it turned out, the majority of people based their decisions to buy new appliances on fashion and rumors, not on necessity or functionality reasons. In addition, people buy new electronic things in an attempt to look more modern in the eyes of their friends and neighbors. When a woman wants to buy a technological novelty, she pushes aside her plans to purchase cosmetics. A man usually acquires new technology to the detriment of tourism.

    Gadget-addicted people have a bouquet of psychological symptoms, such as: euphoria and ecstasy from buying a new gadget, inability to stay away from appliances for long, the feeling of emptiness and depression that develops when a person does not purchase gadgets on a regular basis, disregard for family members and friends. Gadget mania can be harmful to health too: addicts suffer from dryness in the eyes, headaches and sleeping disorder.

    Psychologists do not doubt that the phenomenon might become a serious problem in the future. “It is very easy to see that the addiction to technological novelties exists, – doctor of psychological scientists, Dmitry Smirnov says. “” It is enough to look at students, when they sit in a lecture hall. A half of them look underneath the desks and move their arms brokenly from time to time as they send sms messages. Discipline measures are useless to struggle against it. Young people text each other for the sake of communication. As a rule, they do not obtain any helpful or useful information from such messages. Cell phones with cameras are all the rage now with the new obsession: young people send images to each other. The nature of the disease is identical to any other type of addiction,” the scientist said.

    Several millions of consumers suffer from the gadget addiction in Europe now. The English and the Polish are the most ardent consumers of new gadgets. Nineteen percent of Polish respondents said that they become angry when they can’t afford buying a new technical novelty. Italians are less subjected to the technical mania: only four percent of them acknowledged that they buy new appliances without any good reasons for it.

    Specialists believe that the gadget addiction, like any other pathological addiction, springs from the point, when the aspiration to forget about the real world dominates the mind and becomes the most important idea for an individual. People suffering from severe forms of gadget addiction need to consult psychotherapists, others may try to get rid of the mania themselves. Specialists recommend to cut the number of visits to electronic stores, buy new things at least once in three months and communicate with people as much as possible.

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