The Banality of the Amazing

We live in the future.  It’s easy to forget that.  The recent announcement of Apple’s new gadgets got me thinking: I only myself got a smartphone for the first time in late 2010.  I’m currently on my second device, a Samsung Galaxy SIII that I love to death.  However, not only am I nearing the end of my current phone contract (and thus the phone’s effective life-cycle), it’s already been made obsolete by two successors.


Sometimes I scroll through my apps and they pause and lag.  I brush my finger across the slightly cracked display and it responds by being jittery and stuttering.  I get slightly frustrated that my device is starting to show its age; the capabilities that were once cutting edge are now nothing special.

Except this kind of thinking is dumb.  My phone, even though it belongs to a generation passed, is amazing.

I have the sum of human knowledge in my pocket.  I can be almost anywhere, have an idea, a curiosity, a question, and I can find out almost anything about it in seconds.  I can see what traffic is like in New York from the comfort of my California office, send a thought out to millions of people instantly, look at the stars as if the sky doesn’t exist, punch through to my desktop computer and control it, access libraries of music and play it right there, chat with friends, even call them and see them on video.

That’s to say nothing of the hardware.  I can take pictures, wake myself up, track my exercise habits, find my location, translate text, and possibly most amazingly to me, I can use my fingertip to control pixels on a screen. And all of this is barely scratching the surface.  This is just what I personally use my godlike device for.

It’s amazing.  At least it should be.  It’s just too bad that too often, the amazing becomes banal.  Humans are incredible at adapting to their environments.  We can get used to anything.  We can throw away our miracles of engineering for the new shinier model as if they’re worthless and useless.

I never want to lose that initial sense of amazement.  It’s not that difficult to appreciate the things you have when you realize how great they really are.


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