One hand waving free

To dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow
      — Bob Dylan

I talked yesterday about the odd specter of people on the street being “differently present” while immersed in their SmartPhones. There’s another aspect to all of this that seems equally strange.

One of the various wonderful things about human evolution is the way we have developed such an extraordinary ability to use our hands. Through the combination of large brain power, binocular vision, strong yet flexible hands and fingers, and an amazingly ability to sense touch through our fingertips, we have become master tool builders.

The great majority of humans have two hands, and we take for granted the various powers this confers. It is simply a part of us, not just biologically but also culturally and technologically.

So we actually giving up quite a bit when we tether ourselves to a SmartPhone. Effectively, one of those two hands is now occupied with holding a plastic brick, and cannot be used for anything else.

It seems to me that in historical terms, this arrangement must be temporary. After all, it’s hard to believe that humanity will be willing to pay such a high price for much longer.

One thought on “One hand waving free”

  1. The Pixar movie WALL*E did a wonderful job of extrapolating the evolution of the screen-obsessed mobile individual to its logical conclusion.

    It wasn’t pretty. But they did use both hands (one typically for consuming a high-fructose beverage, IIRC).

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