The Zombieization of Humankind

Posted on August 6, 2015 by Robert Ringer


While at a conference last week, I stepped onto a hotel elevator one morning and was struck by the Huxleyesque scene that greeted me. There were eight people on board, compromising a diverse cross section of gender, age, and race.

They included one nicely dressed black woman, who looked to be in her mid-forties … two guys in their twenties, wearing shorts, T-shirts, and, of course, ball caps turned backwards … a Latino male in a maintenance uniform, about thirty to thirty-five years of age … a fiftyish-looking white businessman in a suit and tie … two women (one black, one white) in their thirties or forties, dressed in their finest business garb … and a dapper, middle-Eastern looking man, perhaps in his early thirties.

What struck me was that, notwithstanding their diversity, there was a distinct commonality among them: All were completely engrossed looking at, and pressing various icons on, their handhelds. (I call them handhelds for lack of a better word, for to call them smartphones is to imply that their main function is to serve as telephones, and that function has become somewhat of a secondary purpose for these curious little digital creatures.)

The word that immediately flashed through my mind was: zombies. The scene had such a striking effect on me that for the next two days — in the hotel, at restaurants, on the street, and, finally, at the airport and on both of my flights — I found my eyes scanning swarms of people to see how many of them were staring at handhelds. Answer: Just about all of them.

I realize that fads come and go, but every day I’m increasingly struck by the fact that I have never seen anything quite like the explosion of the handheld phenomenon. Even Pac-Man and Mario finally faded into the background of fun ‘n games. But I have difficulty picturing the day when handhelds will be replaced by the next big thing.

The handheld is different. It’s sensual to the touch. It gives one a sense of empowerment. To hold it in one’s grip is an exhilarating macho experience (even for women!).

The handheld enraptures people in a way I have never before seen. Whereas video games can be stressful (after all, the object is to win), handhelds have a tranquilizing effect. Handhelds are to kids and adults what pacifiers are to infants. They are soothing to the brain’s noise box, relieving it of the obligation to live in, and observe, the real world.

But perhaps the most amazing thing about the handheld is that — and I still haven’t figured out exactly how it accomplishes this — it seems to level the playing field. It turns virtually everyone on the planet — from Wall Street wizards to minimum-wage fast-food workers — into geniuses.

No matter what one’s intelligence or station in life, he/she can find the nearest Chinese restaurant, get an answer to any whimsical question, or get the directions to just about anywhere — within seconds. Other than government aid, what else could people possibly need to keep them contented?

At the current pace of handheld technological advancement, it seems inevitable that these digital somas will soon have a chokehold on every human brain. There are more new handhelds activated every day than new babies born, and studies have shown that the average person checks his/her handheld every few minutes.

So the question is, is this a good or bad thing for the zombieized individual and the public at large? To be honest with you, I’m not really sure.

While on the surface, handhelds seem to be the ultimate freedom tool, they also perform a function always sought by those who are at the top of the power chain: They keep people occupied twenty-four hours a day. Without question, they have become the new opiate of the masses — and that can only be good for the power holders whose aim is to keep people in line.

So perhaps one good thing that could come from the handheld zombie trance is that there will be less time for people to engage in rioting, crime, and other anti-social behaviors. Who has time to commit crimes when they have to check their handheld every few minutes?

One cannot help but to wonder if the nature of the Big Bang predestined that mankind would ultimately become a giant race of handheld zombies that would become so utterly mesmerized that they would lose interest in all the other mind-dulling activities that have surrounded them for decades. Is it possible that fun addicts will eventually lose interest in college and pro sports, reality television, and rioting over imaginary grievances?

Don’t laugh — it could happen. Remember Ringer Rule No. 1: things change! And they will continue to change. Can anyone even begin to envision where handhelds will be five years from now? Or ten years from now? Or how about twenty-five years from now? It staggers the imagination to even contemplate it.

Whatever the outcome, I sense that the human race is not going back from whence it came. I believe that, by design or randomness, the handheld is a mutation that will prove to be a key turning point in the evolution of man.

But speculations aside, one thing is now certain: The zomieization of humankind is upon us. The only question is where it is leading us. It will be fascinating to watch this digital-soma saga continue to unfold.

What do you think? Is the handheld obsession leading us somewhere good or bad? I need some help figuring this one out.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

67 responses to “The Zombieization of Humankind”

  1. Howard says:

    Oh, the irony. .. I read this article on my handheld…

    • Ferd says:

      Me too. Head to yellowstone. You are out of range.

    • Wendy says:

      So did I however I would no sooner look at my handheld whilst out and about than walk around reading a book.

      • CARA says:


  2. Justin Veyna says:

    It's a good thing…if you can control the beast. For me it's either a supercharged productivity tool – I read tons of books and write a bunch on it; or a supercharged time waster – blowing hours on Social Media.

  3. Jim Hallett says:

    You are speaking my language, today, Robert! I am continually appalled at the lack of real communication that occurs anymore, and the fact people have become attached to their handhelds (as you call them) like some giant umbilical cord. I prefer to NOT be tethered 24/7 and to not constantly expose my body to EMF (had a brother die of a brain tumor, and he was a heavy cell phone user for his business), so this is one fad I choose NOT to join. I find it depressing that people cannot carry on real or intelligent conversations anymore, and that they prefer the brain farts of their techie device. I love the access to the internet and all the info I can get (without being filtered by lamestream media liars or the politician thugs), but I do that at a computer and do not feel any compulsion to check on something every few minutes. It is truly a Zombie Apocalypse, and I think it spells disaster, since non-thinking zombies become easy prey for the totalitarian scum that have already gotten a huge upper hand almost everywhere. People are free to make their own choices (so I am not advocating for a boycott against handhelds), but I choose real and direct communication AND times of silence where I am not bombarded with INFORMATION, but rather get to enjoy the beauty of the present moment. Thanks for sharing, and of course, you were "speaking to the choir" on this one . . . as is often the case with your perceptive and excellent articles/books.

    • Ellis Baxter says:

      Interesting Jim, it may be of note to review my evolution. I had the first car cell phone in Atlanta Ga. On TV and in print. They chose to approach us as we had radio phones. I had to have a PDA, bought the stock. Then I had to have a Blackberry. I used them all the time … jump now 35 years later .. While I use a lot of computers, my hand held is a cell phone that cost me $9.95 …I use a prepaid phone ! Being in a total connected condition slows down the focus required to get things done. I think we are in a paradigm shift where we use the devices required for our lives. Watch, the return of the I Pad to a high volume business very soon as everything becomes more mobile and personal but also productive!

      • Jim Hallett says:

        Ellis, I too had one of the first mobile phones (it was a big thing mounted in between the bucket seats of my car and had one of those screw off antennas) in LA in 1985 (I kept getting looks as folks thought I was a pimp or a drug dealer – the two groups most likely to have them, at least in SoCal), and had to have a cell phone for business for a number of years, but ALWAYS hated them. Now, that I am self-employed and work via the internet, I choose to DE-plug, and I love it. I don't miss it at all, even if sometimes it makes things more inconvenient to contact people when traveling, etc. For most of my 65 years, I functioned perfectly well without handhelds, so I don't find any need to use them now, but of course, others are welcome to do as they please (though I would prefer some courtesy in restaurants, etc. so as not to listen to all the jabbering and phone rings constantly!!). I think as EMF damage becomes more widely known, you will see others reduce their "dependence" on these things.

  4. Pd Glass says:

    Even my grandchildren are stricken with this type of media. They are currently 6, 8, 8, and 12. It starts amazing early for sure.

  5. Steve says:

    Yes addictive and useless input that occupies the brain. Unlike a computer, nothing was ever created on a handheld. Nothing coded nothing written and nothing drawn. Yes I'm on one now too.

    • tpbzdw says:

      On the contrary, Steve. I wrote a book and several articles for IBM developerWorks on my "handheld," as Robert called them. Also, I use it to manage my life with Ultimate TODO List and augment my mind in countless other ways. (Maxima for Android, Kindle for Android, etc.)

  6. Bradford says:

    Is the handheld obsession leading us somewhere good or bad? I'm not sure that it's destiny is neither good or bad. I am also reluctant to accept the description of "obsession" because obsession implies some form of maladaptive behavior.

    I do not see that handhelds are causing users to withdraw from daily functions and responsibilities. In fact, quite the opposite is what I see. An ability to have connectedness to work, home, friends. Various utilities designed to work in tandem with the handheld to promote a stronger presence in one's life.

    So, Mr. Ringer, I would offer the Tortoise this: societies operate at optimal productivity and functionality when there is a sense of connectedness; and handhelds appear to provide that.

    Perhaps the culmination has already occured and the future for handhelds have acheived perfect Bell Curve status.

  7. Rich says:

    It's just a tool, and like any tool, can be used or abused.

  8. Jack says:

    The smartphones are an addiction. I've seen people get antsy and nervous when they could "check" their messages or emails for more than a half-hour. I have nieces who wouldn't dream of stepping outside the home without first having that smartphone primed and ready for the outside journey.

    I now see obliviots rising their bicycles – smartphone in hand – trying to navigate the road with one hand, while hitting buttons with the other. Needless to say, I've had more than one close call with those kind. They rather crash their dam* bike than lose that digital device from their hand.

    I constantly hear people say "I'd be lost without my (fill in brand name here) phone." Or like my brother, who says "I couldn't live without it."

    The rude awakening will someday come…

  9. Marte says:

    I'll agree with Rich. When used as a tool, it could be a good thing. When used as a distraction from living and a substitute for actually TALKING with each other, it's a terrible thing.

    I guess I'm of an old school – I think it's good for humans to have quiet time in which to simply think. I don't think we need music, a TV, or a handheld distracting us every minute of the day. And I do think that when we communicate by text or email, we miss a lot. We simply don't have those in-depth conversations that connect us at something other than a superficial level.

    It's here to stay, but that's sort of a shame.

    • Kevin Kevin says:

      Marte – I've noticed that communication by email or text seems for the most part to be preferable for most people of all ages. I've come to the conclusion that people prefer to type their messages and responses because for one, they get to think about what they are going to say before saying it. During a conversation, people sometimes say something that doesn't entirely or even come close to what they were trying to communicate; which can start a negative slide downward in the conversation. Basically, people seem to be running away from direct conversation because of confrontation. They can confront digitally, which keeps all the participants emotions in check, or allows them to cool off before having to reply. Once a participant gets hot under the collar and says something negative with an emotional tone of voice that backs up their statement in a live conversation, it's too late. Part of this is the polarization effect that is happening everywhere in the world currently, as it adds to the need to be right; regardless of whether it's correct or not. Once a conversation has started down the slippery slope of negativity, our egos and polarization (which makes the situation worse), demands that we be right. And usually we continue on trying to figure out how to prove that we are right. Email and texting allows us an 'out' if you will, from a conversation that we think we are going to lose; without losing face. The whole 'communicating digitally' thing has kind of a falseness to it, that allows us to soothe our egos when we've lost a point, or 'win the argument' without causing the other person to 'lose face'. It takes away the 'slap in the face' we feel when we lose a live argument with someone. Again, a part of the polarization of our world that doesn't allow us to try and control our egos, but instead gives us a false way to lose or win; while fooling ourselves into thinking we have handled the situation somewhat delicately, while still saving face. I see polarization and political correctness as the two biggest problems facing us today. They're both being used by our egos to try and keep us in check, where we're safe.

      • Joseph says:

        I like your point….. now if you had condensed it to 50 words…it would have more impact. As it is, you defined and just repeated the basic statement….over and over and over.

        If that is your vocal speech pattern, I can see people's eyes glazing over. <grin>

    • Typically, the technology industry will hide their only interest – moneymaking – with subterfuge named 'communicative device' or some other locution.. In a US economy in which many experience no lift-off, but only a stand still since the mid 2000's – it is convenient to keep the hoi polloi busy with feeling clever – even useful, when regular visits to the Library – some four hours a day, at least – would open their eyes.. Starting with Adam Bellow's The State of the American Mind(Templeton, 2015) they might avoid being screwed about regular K12 schooling._'The effect of Dewey's philosophy on the design of of curricular systems was devastating' cited in National Review July 6, 2015 pp.42-3.

  10. Steve says:

    And then there's Japan, where 'connectedness' has even replaced the desire for sex.

  11. I ABSOLUTELY HATE THEM! It's a shame what has happened and continues to happen to mankind today…the sad part about it all is that "the horse is out of the barn" so to speak and there is little we can do about it…at least for my generation…I'm 73! As a fellow passenger on a cruise ship said to me a few years back while we enjoyed our morning coffee near the pool…"we're next in line to go…" Never thought I would say it – but I'm looking forward to getting closer to the beginning of the line…

    Somehow I cannot totally agree with what you say here about less crime…I do believe it's getting worse. Only last night there was another attempt of destroying lives inside a movie theater outside of Nashville, TN following at the heels of the massacre in Chattanooga, TN 3 weeks ago…both not too far from where I live.

    I hate that I am now afraid to go to see a movie in a movie theater…Netflix is OK…but there are times you just want to sit back, relax and see it on "the big screen"…

    As the poem goes: "Life was simple in black and white" and before the internet…thanks for letting me vent! Take care everyone…

    • CARA says:


  12. Carol says:

    At the insistence of my family I had a "handheld" for about a month before I sent it along with other things I no longer wanted in my life to the Salvation Amy. Having survived for nearly 80 years without one of those gadgets, I see no need for one now. Like computers, I believe they do at least as much harm to the overall human condition as they do good. Both can be useful for obtaining information, and both can be extreme time wasters as well as privacy invaders.

    For these reasons I use my computer as a source of conservative news and views, but have never participated in any social media. My primary computer use is offline as a word processor, and if I want to communicate with someone I will either send them an email or talk to them on my landline phone.

    When I see people sitting or standing around just staring at their "handheld devices" the only thing I want to say to them is "Get a life!"

  13. Paul Anthony says:

    It took many centuries for us to evolve to the point that we could walk erect. The "smart" phone is the equivalent of an evolutionary u-turn. Now everyone walks around with heads bent, staring toward (but not at) the ground.

  14. oscarwildeweenr says:

    "it's just a tool."

    when a tool entrains a tool user, aren't there then two tools? meet the new meiosis – same as the old meiosis.

    "in 1913, Charles Péguy, then forty & an unlikely combination of poet, journalist, socialist & roman catholic, made the famous & often-repeated statement that the world had changed less since the death of jesus than it had in the last thirty years. he described, for his millions of contemporaries, the concurrent horror & excitement of geometrically accelerating culture.

    hidden in Péguy’s formulation is the idea that each tool, each measurement, each casual observation of the nature of things – even Péguy’s – accelerates & automates the acquisition of the next tool. the first rock-chipping rock logically extends itself, along a series of ever-shorter steps, into the assembly line & the self-replicating machine. this increasingly steepening curve applies to every endeavor where the product of growth contributes directly to growth’s process." ~ Three Farmers On Their Way To A Dance, richard powers

    I was takin a trip out to L.A.
    Toolin along in my cheverolet….

  15. Rob Provencher says:

    Read the Shallows….and similar books (there are a plethora of them coming out addressing this exact phenom…….

  16. Jeff Rosner says:

    For those of use who observe the Jewish Sabbath, these devices are put away and are left untouched for about 25 hours. It is an amazing weekly vacation. I would advise anyone to turn off your phone for 24 hours and see how liberating it is.

  17. JoeyBronx says:

    I saw a similar situation in Brooklyn about three years ago- I watched as four teenage girls in Bensonhurst get off the school bus together one day as school let out. They were obviously friends, walking is a pack together down 86th Street. Nothing unusual yet, but all four of them were on cell phones, talking to someone else, completely oblivious to each other, and completely ignoring one anther's company. Amazing. The worst part? Of of the broads was wearing a black T-Shirt with the Master Card logo- the caption read: "Sex with me…….Priceless!" Can you imagine a girl wearing something like that to school? Or what's worse, she was on her was to home, where that shirt would have no doubt been tolerated. I think I'm going to cry……….

  18. tpbzdw says:

    When I was around 10 years old, I absolutely LOVED a movie made when I was born. The movie was called "Forbidden Planet," staring Walter Pigeon, Ann Francis, and Leslie Nielsen. As a child a few years short of my teen years, there was ONE moment on the show that struck me as fantastic and extremely desirable. That moment shaped my mind for the following 48+ years of my life, establishing my career firmly in the information technology field –> it was when Dr. Morbius (Pigeon) showed the astronauts "The Plastic Educator," saying about it that "on this, you can display the entire knowledge of the Krell … a sheer bulk surpassing many millions of Earth libraries…"

    I was dumbfounded in my desire to see that kind of thing become a reality for human beings too!

    I thank God that I lived to see it become a reality! Although MUCH smaller than the desk-sized educator in the movie, the devices that we use … connected to the Internet … fulfill that dream more so than any science fiction writer of the time even envisioned.

    Whenever my Mom wants me to find out something for her, I always joke that I'll "search the knowledge of the Krell" to find out, as I fire up my device. She laughs and knows exactly what I mean.

    We should ALL embrace this technology with full awareness that EVERY blessing can become a CURSE as well, and use wisdom to guide our way through it.

  19. Avery Horton says:

    One more thing that divides us. Another nail in the coffin. Gives the illusion of being connected. After watching THE KINGSMAN, it is easy to see how humans could fall. Social media promotes anti-social behavior. Amazing how many friends are turned into enemies over a Facebook post. Yes, Mr. Ringer, this is the zombieization of humankind along the lines of IDIOCRACY>

    • Richard Lee Van Der says:

      And as in America that I now call "the great Mediocracy" as of about the early '70s.

  20. Froy says:

    It is what happens when a small dose of something produces a favorable
    result, but if you increase the dosage, the results are a disaster.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      So you read Bill Bonner's book also. It is appropriate to apply it here to handhelds.

  21. zimpeterw says:

    I pride myself on being a contarian. My mobile phone is just that, I have a phone only plan with data & text disabled. I am fortunate that I work from home and use my desktop computer for email at long intervals. I do have a tablet which I use on the rare occasions when I am away from home for a day.

    The one concession to this infatuation with small portable screens I indulge in is to take an ereader (without wifi) when I suspect I will be kept waiting so that I can read something worthwhile without having to carry a selection of books.

  22. RealitySeeker says:

    Technology is what you make it. Smart phones are really mini computers that can be used to make a call. The best ones are muli-tools, e.g., flashlight, camera, calculator, etc.

    With "apps" they can do all sorts of cool things— even become a radiation detector. Don't know what that fabulous song is playing on the radio? No problem. Download an app and your smart phone will listen to the song and tell you the name, artist and a lot of other trivia.

    Of course, the best part is how the CIA, NSA and other government Stasi can track you, read your text and even listen in to personal conversations when your smart phone is in your pocket. That's right boys and girls, Big Brother is watching and listening and documenting your every move. Don't you just love living the 1984 lifestyle? Yeah. Great isn't it. And soon you'll be able to implant your smart phone so you'll never forget to bring it with you. Bad ass! Dude! It can even remind you to vote. "Trump press or say, 'one'". "Jeb, press or say, 'two'"……. you get the idea.

    '[ Some] things change" Yes they do, but human nature remains the same. That's why history repeats. And that's why most smart phones are nothing more than a mini-circus in the hands of the ignorant masses. Hey! Who needs a brick-and-mortar, Roman coliseum when you can have you very own virtual mini-circus. It's great. Really! If your dream is to nuke Iran and gut any survivors like a fish, no problema, mi amiga, just download the gruesome game and start bombing. It gives new meaning to the phrase, "Shall we play a game?"

    Speaking of circus. Tonight should be a good one. The GOP is having a very special clown show, which is hosted by none other than Fox News, aka the Big Top. I might just have to watch it on my smart-ass phone. Love that Trump. He has so exceeded my expectations that I might have to switch my support from Rand Paul to TRUMP! After all, an empire needs a caesar.

    • oscarwildeweenr says:

      …which is to say vampires need blood…

      In my empyrean, Caesar needs romaine hearts, olive oil, Dijon mustard, worcestershire, lemon juice, egg yolks, garlic, anchovies, parmesan cheese. Croutons & wallachians, not healthy, are optional.

      • oscarwildeweenr says:

        "it's just a tool."

        when a tool entrains a tool user, aren't there then two tools? meet the new meiosis – same as the old meiosis.

        "in 1913, Charles Péguy, then forty & an unlikely combination of poet, journalist, socialist & roman catholic, made the famous & often-repeated statement that the world had changed less since the death of jesus than it had in the last thirty years. he described, for his millions of contemporaries, the concurrent horror & excitement of geometrically accelerating culture.

        hidden in Péguy’s formulation is the idea that each tool, each measurement, each casual observation of the nature of things – even Péguy’s – accelerates & automates the acquisition of the next tool. the first rock-chipping rock logically extends itself, along a series of ever-shorter steps, into the assembly line & the self-replicating machine. this increasingly steepening curve applies to every endeavor where the product of growth contributes directly to growth’s process." ~ Three Farmers On Their Way To A Dance, richard powers

        I was takin a trip out to L.A.
        Toolin along in my cheverolet….

      • RealitySeeker says:

        …. which is to say, the cycle needs to complete.
        History must repeat or at least rhyme.
        The tree must be refreshed with blood from time to time.

        An empire must mature, give seed and one day go back to the dust from which it came. It's a cycle. No cycle is complete without a caesar. The sooner the caesar, the sooner the ending. And the sooner the beginning. Again.

        Moreover, the wildebeest is grunting. Soon, the entire herd will be on the move. The cyclical migration out of one market and into another,out of one political system into another, out of one war and into another is also part of a larger cycle. Cycles within cycles.

        Now please excuse me while I get some popcorn and watch the next President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho:

        All hail mighty Camacho… er, I mean Trump! Trump 2016! Long live Trump!

        • oscarwildeweenr says:

          This day and age we're living in
          Gives cause for apprehension
          With speed and new invention
          And things like fourth dimension.

          Yet we get a trifle weary
          With Mr. Einstein's theory.
          So we must get down to earth at times
          Relax relieve the tension

          And no matter what the progress
          Or what may yet be proved
          The simple facts of life are such
          They cannot be removed.

          You must remember this
          A sickle is just a sickle, a scythe is just a scythe.
          The fundamental things apply
          As time goes by.

          history. herstory. not my story. i took the plane. bye-bye, casablanca. there are other cycles.

          • RealitySeeker says:

            I took the plane to the train to the plane to the train to the plain in Spain where it rained.

            I took so many planes and so many trains though so many plains that I'm back to right where I started again.

            I'm home again, home again, and again and again until this time I remain.

            I do my world travel now via smart-ass phone and smart-ass TV.

            I prefer an electronic groping to a real good TSA feel-up on me……..

            Bye-bye, Casablanca, Bogie, the usual suspects and all.

            Hello Johnny Rocco, Key Largo, Bacall.

            No where to run, hide or take a pee.

            Without the NSA spying on me………..

            Welcome back!, Mr Kotter, to 1974, with pig cops aplenty, drugs, and whores and…..

            …….. the end of the Vietnam nam war. and Nixon and so much more.

            Welcome back to the future: "we tease him a lot because we got him on the spot"….

            Welcome back…….

          • RealitySeeker says:

            By the way, I almost forgot to wish you a happy Hiroshima day!

            "Appallingly, history has been kind to Truman, and people who profess a variety of political views claim to admire the "plucky" plain-speaking guy from Independence, Mo. As I see it, however, no condemnation could be harsh enough, for if Truman wasn't a mass murderer, no one was. (Truman said no to a bombing demonstration on an uninhabited island.) He was a liar too. In announcing the first bombing, he called Hiroshima an "Army base." But author Greg Mitchell writes, "Hiroshima did contain an important military base, used as a staging area for Southeast Asia, where perhaps 25,000 troops might be quartered. But the bomb had been aimed not at the 'Army base' but at the very center of a city of 350,000, with the vast majority women and children and elderly males."

            Nevertheless, in his Aug. 9 radio address to the American people, Truman said, "We wished in the first attack to avoid, in so far as possible, the killing of civilians."

            – See more at:

          • oscarwildeweenr says:

            Yes. when I was a good kid, & a good american, good guy truman was a truism. But the good die young, become strangers to the “good”. Catholicism deflowered. Sooner or later it comes down to fate. do-do-do-dom. Beethoven symph’d so, billy joel sung so, & I reiterate that ya’ reap what ya’ sow, (wham!) so…wake thee up before you go go, don’t be hangin’ on like a yo yo…lol
   from poppy seed inauspicious beginnings…geo michael anthems the masses anathema…FREEDOM! (william Wallace shoulda’ split for brazil, too, like glenn greenwald…☻)
   if this doesn’t get you boppin’ you may be zombieaten…or maybe a redneck ☺

          • oscarwildeweenr says:

            oops. tried "edit" option, ummmmm….

            2nd tune link should be this

          • Jim Hallett says:

            Hiroshima and Nagasaki were two of the most heinous acts ever perpetrated by any govt. on the world, and by far, the worst tragedy in U.S. history. All the flags should have been at half-mast, and more appropriately, flown UPSIDE down! The history books and the "progressive" commentators have sanitized it with the fairy tale that it saved American lives (a LIE!), but then when you murder thousands, you need a good spin. The Nagasaki attack was right over the largest Christian cathedral in Japan, and Japanese Christianity never recovered, as they figured if a supposedly "Christian" nation like the USA, with the blessings of both a Catholic and Lutheran chaplain could annihilate fellow Christians, maybe it wasn't a religion they wanted to follow. Aug. 6th and 9th will forever be an embarrassment and travesty for the USA and of course, for Truman, too.

          • RealitySeeker says:

            Please don't get me started on the religious aspect underpinning the monstrous war crimes which were perpetrated by self-righteous monsters. Perhaps another time we can have an honest dialog about what really happened in the past and why we shouldn't let history repeat. I'd like to table everything, the whole truth, about the war crimes committed by Truman— including support the 1948 invasion of the Levant and subsequent recognition of Israel. Supporting and recognizing Israel's aggression had long-term ramifications which have yet to be felt. The chances of a nuclear exchange between are high. Why? Because if I were a Persian, an Arab or a Palestinian, I'd want a nuclear weapon to settle the score. I'd want to payback both the U.S. and Israel for the all of the overt war crimes, covert CIA war crimes and hatred of my religion and culture.

            The bottom line is Washington has a really big problem. Washington has gotten into everybody's business— including iran's. And what goes around, comes around. And if Washington doesn't prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, Washington might just get a face full of plutonium.

            Which means people like me who live in America are put at risk. Because I might be proximate to a nuclear revenge attack launched from Iran.

            Thank you very much, Truman, for another foreign entanglement.

          • oscarwildeweenr says:

            oh, you're hot this morning, a real poet lariat, lol!

            but gaucho I think you’ve been garroted – el guapo’s lasso’s gotten inside your head.

            All the world’s a stage, & it’s full of hollywoody production-less places for my rifle, pony & me – places to run, places to hide, places to peacefully pee*.

            Smart-ass bogie was compelled to stay in that white house place, suicide by cop-out was his role, so script defer did he, pulled the kotter pin on that martyrdo-do-do-dom,… & went fait acompli (boom!) – bangin’ bacall woulda’ been more compellin’ to me.

            All due respect to eliot – just cuz he was a great poet didn’t mean he had to know it – but home’s mobile, the person, not his lat/long or mortgage…hunter-gatherer, Bedouin, gypsy…when the lights are on but nobody’s home its cuz they’re dissociatively tipsy…or maybe a scientologist.

            * smoked in the boys room… Duuun dun duuun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun BOM BOM dun dun dun dun dun dun doo dedoo doo dedoo dede doo dede doo dededoo…if you gotta’ take roy & Richard & Robert just to, maybe, pull off a piss, you’re in, not at, the toilet…the waste land…zipper open inviting your whole home to be drawn & quarteted….

            “We shall not cease from exploration
            And the end of all our exploring
            Will be to arrive where we started
            And know the place for the first time.”
            ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

          • oscarwildeweenr says:

            another thought. caught part of "winged migration" last night. (i'd seen it when it came out, '01'ish, IMAX, i think.)

            artic terns, according to the documentarians, migrate 12,500 miles, each way, every year.

            wiki indicates even more: Recent studies have shown average annual roundtrip lengths of about 70,900 km (44,100 mi) for birds nesting in Iceland and Greenland[3] and c. 90,000 km (56,000 mi) for birds nesting in the Netherlands.[4] These are by far the longest migrations known in the animal kingdom. The Arctic tern flies as well as glides through the air, performing almost all of its tasks in the air. It nests once every one to three years (depending on its mating cycle); once it has finished nesting it takes to the sky for another long southern migration.

            listen to the byrds. turn(move), turn(move), turn(move).

            it's the ecclesiastes of trees to root in place. not people. take off the turn-iquet. circulate.

  23. Ernie Zelinski says:

    I seldom use my iPhone 5 for anything but making phone calls. I despise texting and tell people not to text me. If they can't call me, I don't want them to communicate with me on my cell.

    Having said that, as Joe Vitale said, "Turn it into something good." Given that most people are now becoming ADD due to cellphones, they don't have the attention span to do life-changing things like write an extraordinary book. That means less competition for me in the marketplace. In the end, that's why I make the big bucks — I have the commitment, drive, creativity, and attention span to write extraordinary books that make a difference in people's lives.

  24. Sean Baltz says:

    Technology is a wonderful servant, yet a horrible master.

  25. Scott theczech says:

    I think we shall see this handheld technology become smaller, and smaller until it is no longer a handheld device at all; rather an implant in one of our molars, or ears, or….? I envision those having eye contact conversation, may be interrupted by one of them overcome by that far away look one gets when a ringing call only they can hear, or a text only they can see. Argh!

  26. Bradford says:

    Hmm.. I know I'm using a smart phone as I read these comments and I'd be surprised if the same didn't hold true for a few of the folks on this thread.

    And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the smart phone allow this blog to be accessible virtually anywhere? Lets ask the purchasers of the ad space below for their input….

  27. Johrd says:

    The bad part of it is………the end of conscious living ?

  28. jurgy says:

    handhelds when correctly applied, can be the ultimate tool of the propagandist …

  29. Richard Lee Van Der says:

    I'm age 79. When I started college, AFTER military, I owned and used a small mechanical Smith-Corona laptop typewriter. I loved my little machine! But when I got my first computer, 2005, I thought I'd died an' gone to Heaven! Oh, and I moved through all the new kindza typewriters before that. Now I also own and use a cell phone. Why? To use, only, as a telephone! Oh, and as a calculator. Two in one. For unfortunate socially debilitated hand held addicts, we need an inventor to design a way to send an electric shock when misuse begins. To Un or Re condition them If a driver's hobby is running people over, it would be ever so easy in the day of hand helders! They have no idea where they are… physically!

  30. Paul Herring says:

    As a previous commenter said you may see a group of similar-age people sitting around a table in a coffeeshop and rather than taking with each other they're talking on their mobiles (we call them "mobiles" thather than "cell phones" in Australia). You'd wonder why the ones they're talking to on their handhelds aren't with them at the coffeeshop!

    But others in a public place like a train, bus or a lift (again, in Australia we call elevators "lifts"!) so as to avoid staring at someone or feeling that they should make conversation, to avoid embarrasment, or finally, having to look at four walls or out of the window of public transport. These handhelds certainly have their uses and they double very well as phones too!

    • Pat says:

      Maybe the group of people sitting around a table ARE talking with each other, through their handhelds!

  31. Bill says:

    No time for private thoughts, self evaluation and contemplation. Isn t this just how they want us?

    • Richard Lee Van Der says:

      Yes! but, depending on who "they" refers to.

    • oscarwildeweenr says:

      did those theys ever have the time? if "it's" there now, it always was. susceptibilities don't slide (much); they're givens.

      Pigeons experimented on in a scientific study were more responsive to intermittent reinforcement, than continuous reinforcement.[23] In other words, pigeons were more prone to act when they only sometimes could get what they wanted. This effect was such that behavioral responses were maximized when the reward rate was at 50% (in other words, when the uncertainty was maximized), and would gradually decline toward values on either side of 50%.[24] R.B Sparkman, a journalist specialized on what motivates human behavior, claims this is also true for humans, and may in part explain human tendencies such as gambling addiction.[25]

  32. Nagendra Nayak says:

    I am coming across neuroscience techniques, brain waves, instant everything and permanent bliss. Are we going to get one device from which one electrode placed in your body will freeze you with bliss forever in whatever pose you want?

  33. Pat says:

    I noticed everyone who uses their phone for CONVERSATIONS are all in their 70's or above, and I'm no exception. We're a bunch of old fuddy-duddies, I imagine. I don't even own a handheld. I own an old-fashioned flip phone, and all I use it for is to call people. I have texting disabled. I must really skew the results when I take a survey about cell phones! I do prefer email in some cases, so I do avoid making any statement that will cause the exchange to deteriorate. But I only send email from my desktop.

  34. oscarwildeweenr says:

    interesting image last night. "Lucy", 2.0 version (scarlett johansen), exemplar of giant leaping mankind – she is using 100% of her brain by movie's end – sits in a car observing paris crowds diddling on "handhelds". she can see data stream-threads going straight up into the ether from each diddlevice. the effect is a tableau (rasa?) puppet show.

    here's the scene

  35. edda says:

    Zombie: a dead person animated by magic. And that's what these handhelds are – a magical way OUT OF the 'obligation' to live in and observe 'the real' around us. Dear Mr. Ringer, I think this essay one of your finest.. Current culture blurs – horrifically, methinks – the distinction of what it means to be human. Nicholas Carr, brilliant author of bestsellers "The Glass Cage" and "The Shallows" would say 'amen' to your classic. Wait! So, too, would redoubtable author Theodore Dalrymple. And I.

  36. Jean says:

    "there will be less time for people to engage in rioting, crime, and other anti-social behaviors. Who has time to commit crimes when they have to check their handheld every few minutes?" Ooops – bad call here. In Chicago, the gangs use their (often stolen) handhelds to coordinate their activities, which is how swarms of thugs make their pillaging advances on the tourists and shops on North Michigan Ave.. And the police often use what gets posted to Facebook to make arrests. The ability to gain instant fame via your iPhone is even irresistable to the gang-banger.

  37. Robby Bonter says:

    Grandparents can' t even get the time of day from their grandchildren, anymore, so wide is the generation gap, now. Take me back to pre-industrial revolution times, when family meant everything, was united and together for life, and there was no outside world beyond your crop yielding acreage.

    • GilG2u says:

      Yeah right! Go to any Third World country where people live precarious off the land as see long you could find that life romantic.

  38. Bonnie says:

    One of my happiest moments was a trip to Delaware's Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. No handhelds. No reception. Not too many people, either. Just birds. Oh, and binoculars.

  39. Roger Besu says:

    Robert, “Resistance is futile”. We are slowly training the individuals in our society to be susceptible to assimilation by “ The Borg” ?
    For those of you who are not Trekkies, The Borg are a fictional pseudo-race of cybernetic organisms depicted in the Star Trek universe.
    The Borg manifest as cybernetically enhanced humanoid drones of multiple species, organized as an interconnected collective, the decisions of which are made by a hive mind, linked to subspace domain.
    The hotel elevator scene you described took me back to a view in the Star Trek episodes where the Borgs appear wearing a device implanted on their side of their head and connected to their brain. Isn’t that just like the new smart phone devices that people attach to their ears these days?
    Where is this all going? To me it’s hard to tell. I’m 69 and my mother (born in 1916) told me in her latter years that when she took her first plane ride in the 1930’s she could not imagine where all that air travel would carry humanity to. Well, just before she died we discussed the advent of the supersonic jet travel across the Atlantic. Maybe there is hope for the Zombies?
    I try still to be optimistic, albeit my cynical side keeps developing!
    Intrigued by the Borg? Read Wikipedia’s summary here:

    Roger Besu