The purpose of using a phone, says a lot about the person using it.

Teens and cell phones
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 (Greg Kreller/IPT)

Whenever I stumble across a friend who is busy with his/her phone, it looks as if there is an imaginary sign board that reads “DO NOT DISTURB.” Such situations made me develop a theory about it. Within this fictional theory, there are two sets of classification- one, who are really engrossed within themselves and the other set includes those are pretending to be engrossed.

The theory of ‘engrossed users’

The ones who are really engrossed feel the need to remind everyone about their existence. They are constantly updating what they eat, where they go, how they dress. This makes me imagine about those days when they’ll also start updating about how they breathe! “Just climbed the stairs- heavily breathing.”

With such kind of engrossment, comes the desire for immediate gratification. Almost all of us have a tendency to check our phones every minute to see if there is a notification; even when it hasn’t beeped! This can be explained by Freud’s Structure of Personality. According to him, our personality comprises of id, ego and superego. The one that dominates amongst the three is reflected in our personality. Id is the one that deals with immediate gratification. So, the ones who are impatient and impulsive have their personality dominated by id.

Theory of ‘users pretending to be engrossed’

Coming to the other set of people who never fail to catch my fascination, the ones who pretend to be engrossed. They are the ones who have to make an image amongst the audience that surrounds them. Conscious of being within themselves or having a conversation with strangers, they preoccupy themselves with their phones. Such people can be easily spotted in the long queues or the waiting rooms. Ironically, they fear being judged by a bunch of people who are trying to beguile themselves in some or the other manner.

I for one believe that we are cloning the western ideology simply by adopting their technology. As harsh and inconsequential it might sound, but it stands true because the very phenomenon of being occupied within ourselves is alien to our culture. Asian cultures are collectivist and lay importance on interaction with each other. In contrast is the western culture which holds clear dichotomies between self and the group and values the notion of individuality.

The other type of Pretenders are the ones who do things just to show that they are being done. Let’s take travelling as an example. We no longer travel for reasons like admiring the beauty or reconnecting with our soul. These seemingly fancy ideas are now only used to build up the plots of books and movies. This is because in real life, an entire trip revolves around those countless attempts of getting one good picture that has to be uploaded on all our social media handles.


So, the purpose for which we use, speaks a lot about our overuse! Neither the engrossed, nor the pretenders can be categorised on the basis of their act as sensible or foolish; because in the end it only says how addicted we have become.

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