Greg Morris

Designer, Pretend Photographer, Dad

When The Pursuit Of Less Becomes More

If you’ve read more than 2 of my blog posts, you will know I yearn for a simpler time. A time pre-smartphone, where everything didn’t rely on my having a computer in my pocket — whilst also loving technology. There is no getting away from the feelings, but I have become to realise that if you are not paying attention, how ridiculous the pursuit of less can become.

One of my favourite sub-Reddits is r/dumbphones, it is wonderful to see the phones people are still using and the ones available if you look hard enough. From old school Nokia remakes to mixes of flip phone keypads and Android. One of the post tends recently has been everyday carries, and seeing people using a flip phone and a notepad gives me hope. Then I see others lugging around a dumb phone, MP3 player, camera, kindle, and even more things — and that brings me back to reality.

This was one of the reasons I failed my flip phone experiment. At some point, you just have to realise that all this stuff is a bit ridiculous. This is no slight against the person posting in the screenshot above, it is more a revelation for me. The reason smartphones caught on so quickly is they cannibalised all of these extra things we used to carry around. They made our life easier, and going backwards is not always the way.

By having a smartphone in my pocket, am I actually making my life simpler. I have in my pocket a camera, kindle, music player, writing device and much more. There is a lot to be said for intentional barriers but carrying around all of these extra things doesn’t simplify anything. It just adds complexity. To carry on using a flip phone, past the week or so I managed, I would need to buy more devices when I can just exercise some self-control.

Which indeed is easier said than done, but it’s something to think about. I’m not completely convinced by Nir Eyal and his insistence that destruction is our personal fault, but I must take some responsibility. The solution is often not a worse experience, it is just to use the tool you have, well.

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