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  • Writer's pictureYolanda Burton

Random Thoughts on the CELL...

Word roots give meaning to words. Maybe it’s my English/Language Arts background or my history as a Catholic school girl that makes me rather fond of etymology (the study of word) or, maybe it’s my desire to enlighten my students through short word study that drives me to examine similarities and find connections in words that carry common roots. Today, I started thinking about how roots create a deeper context because I have had an enlightenment, so to speak. An enlightenment of some parts of history that I probably would rather have been blissfully ignorant about.

In my stream of conscious internet exploration of these historical truths I stumbled

upon the thoughts of a prison cell. I thought of its similarity to the human cell, and then to the “Cell” phone.

Well, the word CELL is a noun that originates from Old French and Latin. It means a small enclosed compartment that is separated or isolated. It takes on various meanings depending on the way the word cell is used. With this info, these are my considerations…I’ll let you into a tiny part of my mind if you dare join me…

Consider this…It might be a stretch but stay with me here…If a cell is a small compartment that has the ability to isolate, separate, compartmentalize, or capture…If we can see this in the human cell, and again in a prison cell, then what is happening to the minds and lives of our current generations that are addicted to their “CELL” phones?

The cell, encapsulates though we sit together, walk together, or eat together we quickly return to our hermit like behaviors deep within our isolated world of the latest cellular device. We reach for our little prison and enter our unending virtual reality which threatens the continuity of the foundations of the human experience. We bow our foreheads to the latest tiny god in our hand that dictates our moods and pulls us away from our real lives, our real families, and a peaceful and calm mind. Let me ask you this...have you ever been just minding your own business, enjoying your life and in your own zone and then you get a text message or see something on your phone that totally disrupts your life? I don't know about you, but this just happened to me a few weeks ago. An ill timed and incomplete message from someone produced a boat load of problems in my real world. Another time a phone call I took thinking it was an emergency messed up my movie experience with a friend. The invasive qualities of the Cell allow you to be trapped with the thoughts planted in you while you remain in solitude.

Anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness and fear are at an all-time high while suicide has now become an elementary school issue. All these mental health issues are well known consequences prisoners often face when they are held in solitary confinement, yet, amid our freedom we inadvertently fall back into our sunken place, our little crevices that allow us to forget the nature of true human interaction. The cell can be a very lonely place though it presents with lots of virtual connectivity and lots of visual stimulus to engage us. We, the secluded, allow our physical strength to fade while sitting and holding our dear device. Now, of course this doesn’t apply to all of us, but a gross majority of us are addicted to the solitary confinement of modern technology.

But you know, it’s all good, right? We are keeping up with the Jones's, following the 1%. We need it and it’s helpful and’s really not that bad…Is it? What do you think?

I think we have a “cellar” situation. Today, it is common to see a near 1:1 ration of cell phones to people in any crowd. Many of those individuals are battling a dualistic addiction that both satisfies and destroys. In the schools it is also common to see a near 1:1 ration of cell phones to students in a classroom that is so silent you could hear a pin drop. The students don't know how to relate to one another so much of their conversation becomes aggressive. There is so much pain, anger, depression, hostility, and fear permeating their personal lives and they struggle to keep their minds healthy.

We have the choice to minimize the situation and continue in the same path...encouraging the isolated silent addiction to our cells while embracing our cocoons. We have the choice to develop healthy relationships with ourselves, other people, and our technology and not let it control us

My random thoughts for today? The cell…and it’s underlying purpose (force) in light of society’s current addictions to them. My thoughts brought this scripture to mind:

1 Corinthians 6:12

“I have the right to do anything,” you say-but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”-but I will not be mastered by anything.” (NIV)

Just my thoughts…One day I might share the enlightenment from which they came. Just Consider. -YB

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