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A reduced world of sophisticated science and devalued magic

That little “black mirror” that we have almost constantly in our hands, in front of our eyes, or close to our ears, far from being just an innocent smartphone is, in fact, a world reducer. Every time we use it our world becomes smaller and smaller and, because the reduction is associated with forgetting, we don't notice it.

I hasten to say that I am not against smartphones and I do not intend to return to the time of handwritten letters or clay tablets written in cuneiform. But I am against the fact that it is so easy to reduce our personal world ("world" in an existential, not geographical sense) to only a sliver of the whole human experience.

We not only happily accept that reduction, but we become addicted to it: we can’t pass up but a few minutes before checking the phone to see if we have new messages. And we don't put aside the phone even when driving or when we are with other people next to us.

If the horrifying experience of seeing a driver on the road more interested in looking at the phone than driving his car was not enough proof that the smartphone is an efficient reducer of worlds, then the experience of seeing a young couple sitting next to each other texting instead of speaking should be the definitive proof. 

But why don't we see that reduction in our own world? For the superposition of a twofold self-deception. First, we believe that the smartphone helps us connect when, in fact, it disconnects us. Second, we assume that the only way to access our world is precisely through that smartphone.

The opium of the people has been technologized and it is so addictive that we even grant it magical powers: if the smartphone is not close to us something bad can happen to us. In that way, one of the most advanced technologies the world has ever known is transformed into an amulet, a devalued version of ancient magic.

I think that neither George Orwell nor Gene Roddenberry could have imagined a more unhappy ending for humanity, although both 1984 and Star Trek present suggestions for the narcotic function of technology. At the same time, Arthur C. Clarke already warned that advanced technology leads to this strange fusion of technology and magic.

Nietzsche said that the "last man" only blinks. And that is exactly what we do: we blink at the “black mirror” (and at any other screen) hoping that the next message or a new “Like” will give our life some meaning, or that the next image will make us smile, or that the next “quote” will fill us with wisdom.

As the philosopher Byung Chul Han says, in our time, each one exploits himself/herself and we call that self-exploitation "personal development" or "success". or the name we want to give it. We exploit ourselves and we give magic powers to technology, all meanwhile we live inside a smaller and smaller world. 

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