Monday, June 16, 2008

I want an iPhone

Photo Credit ::

I want an iPhone. OK... there... I said it. I want an iPhone.

The functionality (excluding the camera... which sucks) is next level and will really add to my life. I want it for the browser... and for all the cool new apps... and, well... because its cool.

Thing is... I have been meditating on it and I have to curse Brian McLaren because he has challenged my thinking... In his book "everything must change" he quotes Catholic Theologian Tom Beaudoin's concept called "Theocapitalism" (page 190 onwards) and I can't help but look at the iPhone in this new context...
  1. He states that it gives us identity... helping to create our true selves. I openly identify as being a Mac Geek... the iPhone is an extension of this.
  2. He then speaks of it help me to belong to a community of kindred spirits who share our faith - I am a member of the cult of Mac. Its me and the other however many percent against the windoze world.
  3. Next up is trust... which develops through the making and keeping of advertising promises... thus reducing my anxiety in making choices. Buying a phone is pretty stressful because it needs to work with my Mac set up. I trust Steve Jobs. etc etc.
  4. We experience ecstasy. Not sure about this... but then I have queued up for Mac openings etc... thats pretty close to a Whirling Dervish in my books.
  5. He talks of the communication of transcendence through sacred images & symbols - who watched Steve's last keynote? I followed from a blog but... nevertheless... that's the closest I will come to following a global leader's every word/movement. When Steve speaks... its like a Papal audience... with the faithful (me included) lapping up everything he says. I ooh and ahh with every Apple-branded gizmo announcement.
  6. We are promised conversion to a new life if we try their product and join their brand "family" - err... anyone remember the "switching" campaign? oh and how many friends have I tried to convert to Apple? err... all of them!
  7. Lastly... theocapitalism promises rest for the restless - think of all the satisfied Apple users... especially the ones featured in the last Keynote. Satisfied!
Whoa! That's pretty close to the mark. I am devotee to theocapitalism... although it could be any for of consumption... Sony... Nintendo... Stussy... Nike... you get the gist.

So where do I go from here? With awareness of the above... can I still buy an iPhone and not be a hypocrit?

To be honest... I don't know.

Does the following count?
  1. Its the second generation iPhone - I'm not that devoted!
  2. Its come down in price - Its still expensive compared with other phones that are "free" and will require an increase in my monthly subscription.
  3. It will give me pretty much 24-7 access to the web and to tools such as this blog... twitter... facebook etc. I can blog at lunch... while in a wi-fi zone. I can keep in touch with all my remote friends. I can read the BBC News on the train instead of the paper.
  4. Extra harddrive space is always welcome... my 80gb iPod has 3gb left.
Maybe I should worry about things like contentment and how I can use the tool for the greater good... but then contentment would suggest I keep with the phone I have (which has a better camera) and if I am that concerned with the greater good then I will use whatever I have to hand... iPhone or not.

Maybe I should just consider it like I currently consider my phone - a tool for connecting with people & taking photos. Maybe the issue is about the idolatry and not the tool itself.

I just don't know. What do you think?


Jonathan Blundell said...

good stuff.
good contemplation.

i've had a particular line from a particular album playing in my head a lot this week...

"what we have is what we need and everything else is only greed."

that song plays a lot in my head as i read my email, twitter and such from my blackberry :-(

Anonymous said...

I think that sometimes we stress too much over things that are really not so important. If you think about the broad picture of "love the Lord your God" and "love your neighbour as yourself" then you get a clearer understanding of where an iPhone fits in.

Bro, I know that you use your phone for many great things - keeping us all going with pics, twitters and so forth. If you can comfortably afford the item, maybe pass on your old one to someone in need then where's the problem?

Back in the '90s I was one of the people who literally binned a load of secular music tapes/CDs due to similar concerns and I've regretted it ever since.


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