How smartphone blindness made me see more clearly

Going off technology, especially the addictive and artificial gadgets with screens that force us to perpetuate a virtual unreality, might be the best favour you could do yourself.

October 14, 2017 07:35 pm | Updated 08:15 pm IST

How can our perception of reality possibly be true when we experience it through a virtual prison — oops, prism. | modified from Flickr/Andri Koolme's image

How can our perception of reality possibly be true when we experience it through a virtual prison — oops, prism. | modified from Flickr/Andri Koolme's image

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The least original of epiphanies are also the truest.

After bingeing on a TV show for 65 hours on a phone two weeks ago, I got Transient Smartphone Blindness . I’m recovering slowly and able to see better every day.


Losing vision helped me see things with clarity. The blur made me focus on what’s important. Suddenly, the clutter began to disappear with the most obvious and the most clichéd of modern epiphanies. The truth has always been right in front of our eyes as a boring cliché.

That none of this is real.

“It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”

~ The Matrix


All those people on Facebook aren’t your friends. Your followers on Twitter don’t exactly follow you. And your Instagram... is not even you. It’s a version you want to project to the world with skin-colour-altering flaw-reducing filters in larger-than-life costumes and locations, eating overpriced great-looking food that rarely matches in taste — it’s just a great play of light.

Nothing we see through the windows of our phones or laptops has ever been real. They are quite accurately called screens because they are used for projecting an image, a story, a narrative — and we are just willing consumers.

Ironically enough, I’m typing this on that very screen because this has become the interface we have been communicating on. I want to give this interface a break and just communicate face to face. Maybe I’m just getting too old for toys. Or maybe this is just my severely distressed eyes asking me get the heck away from screens. For a while.


The simplest joys in life are real.

There’s not a camera made that can do justice to the feeling you get seeing the moon at night. There’s no text message that can possibly capture the high of the life’s best moments.

A touch is real. Keeping in touch isn’t.

We shouldn’t have to strain our eyes so hard for anything. In fact, we shouldn’t have to strain ourselves for anyone. People who matter always stick around no matter what. Yes, I do have FOMO but it’s time to face my fear.

Recently, I woke up to go to the beach for mixed martial arts training. It was incredible. It was real. But I turned it into an Insta story. I want to snap out of stories. I want to snap out of communicating through 0s & 1s. It’s time to log out and see how long I can survive without The Matrix. I realised I have so much more fun meeting people and talking in the real world and this doesn’t feel even come close. See you in the real world. Unplugged.

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