The iPhone in the Mirror of the Insatiable Ego: iTime for a new iPhone

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Two items featured in this post:

  1. News about pricing for Apple’s new iPhone (didn’t one just come out?)
  2. A must read.  I mean come on, it was Oprah Winfrey’s 61st Book Club Selection

Many of you will probably end up reading the first, and hopefully more will give the second a shot.  (Didn’t provide the link to Amazon’s website because their stock ticker is doing just fine – some may argue what they’re doing isn’t right.)

Is anyone else watching the price of iPhones rise?  New iPhone model is said to have screen 5.5% larger than current 7 Plus model.  Can’t wait for the future marketing write-ups that read, ‘iPhone size Trumps iPad!’ and ‘iPad Nano: smaller than iPhone and Apple Watch’  (A quick check on the size comparison between 6 Plus and 7 Plus models: 7 Plus is .01in larger in all three dimensions.)  Next iPhone model could be above $1000.  $1000 for a phone?  (I need to start making money….. or do I?)

My first iPhone was a hand-me-down, my Bro’s iPhone 4s.  Even after it became a spider-phone, I continued to use it because it still worked.  My Uncle’s old iPhone 4s became mine once he set his tech-savy eyes on my quite unsuccessful mosquito hunter.  He even threw in his rock-solid 2-in-1 battery case that now, is only used in case the phone needs to be charged on the move… these days I’m moving around quite a bit.

I’m sure my family is not the only family out there that jumps on every new iPhone. ‘What’s wrong with the old(new) one you bought last year?’ I always wondered and voiced initially.  Nowadays, my stupid question just gets ignored or pushed aside.  But maybe I shouldn’t be complaining because if it weren’t for the new model to come out, Dad wouldn’t be rocking Bro’s old iPhone 6 and enable him to FaceTime me (Dad doesn’t know how to text by the way).

  • What would happen to businesses if people weren’t crazed and obsessed to buy every new model?
  • What would happen if people actually wore things out before they made a new purchase?

(I’m rocking some sweet,faded-green khaki shorts at the moment that I bought at the Goodwill for about $4.  There are some holes here and there but none too gaping.  Hoping to get at least another month out of them while traveling.)

Check out the upside-down bell curve phenomenon: a product is at peak popularity when it initially hits the market (is it because it’s a good product or is it just because it’s new – dopamine flood?) before its popularity hibernates for X amount of time before becoming  cool again because it is ‘retro-‘ and ‘old-school.’  One day this functioning iPhone 4s will be hip! (if I can manage to not turn it into another mosquito hunter.)

An excerpt from The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James:

Similarly M. Taine, in the introduction to his history of English literature, has written: “Whether facts be moral or physical, it makes no matter. They always have their causes. There are causes for ambition, courage, veracity, just as there are for digestion, muscular movement, animal heat. Vice and virtue are products like vitriol and sugar.”

Is it weird that my iPhone 4S which was issued back in 2010 still works perfectly fine?  Super weird: Apple Store staff not willing to inspect my Mom’s iPad because it is too old (first generation iPad – 2012).  Sure my 4S doesn’t have as many ‘bells and whistles’ as they like to say, but I’m perfectly happy with the functionality of a product I didn’t have to pay for.  You all are probably wishing you had the luxury of growing up as a younger brother or sister.  (Being in the ‘hand-me-down’ position was a double edged sword, you never got anything new but you had something new to wear/use.)  But had I had t0 pay for the 4S, I would have been even happier.

My first cell phone was the size of a Snickers bar.  I remember using this bad boy to call my Mom after soccer games Freshman year in college while soaking in the stars revitalizing rays after a brute battle on the soccer field earlier in the evening.  “Yes, Mom.  We won.  I played outside-mid.”  Back in the day, things were made to last; that little Nokia would probably still be working if I dug it out of storage and charged it up.  Today things are made to break or be replaced: it’s called planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence.  (Thank goodness my college buddy made me watch this video otherwise I would have been at every Black Friday shopping spree.

***If there’s anything you read/watch in this post: watch the video on the Story of Stuff. Like Richard Carlson said with the title of his book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff.” Aston Martin, Ray Bans, Vivobarefoot shoes, pack of Lifesavers – all small stuff.****     

‘The insatiable ego‘ is a phrase that still echoes from my college days when I read Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth.  No matter how much we acquire, our ego wants more.  It can never be satiated.  Endless and incessant, “Give me more, give me more.”Maybe it’s a matter of that ego’s habit – ‘wanting more’ is the habit (“All people are the same; only their habits differ.”- Confucius).  If you make it a habit of buying every new model despite your current being perfectly fine, you won’t feel satisfied unless you have every new phone, every new pair of shoes and/or every new model car ever year (curious to know if there are those wealthy enough to afford the new model every year – I know of a guy that buys one pair of pants, wears them, then throws them away because its cheaper to buy them at discount than to bring them to the dry cleaners.)

Let’s stop and reflect for a second and digest this information.  The Japanese valued the mirror because it represented wisdom or according to Rich Dad, self-knowledge.  “The unexamined life is not worth living” said Socrates.  Examine your behavior and of those around you.  Gain wisdom through the act of observation.  It’s best to watch someone jump off a cliff into the ocean before taking the leap yourself.  (But someone’s got to be first.)

I remember thinking to myself when I was young kid shopping at the grocery store with Mom, ‘It’d be nice to one day not have to buy just what’s on sale.  It’d be nice to buy x and y and c right now.’  A few years ago I found myself buying myself shoes online because they were on sale.  I didn’t need new shoes; I was just stocking up for when my current ones wore out.  Epiphany: I realized at any given time, something is on sale somewhere and just because it is on sale, doesn’t mean you should buy it.  Buy it because it is needed(logic), not because it feels good to make a purchase with the wallet (emotion).

2014-05-19-18-54-30 I know this ‘Sale’ sticker far too well.

Time = Money.  The equation of the business world.

Time ain’t money, time is your life.  What are you doing with yours?

Time = life.  Transitive property: time = money = life.  But no amount of money can bring someone back to life….  Something’s wrong here.)

But cow shit, who am I to tell someone how to spend their money?  I think that’s the worst thing you can do – tell someone how they should spend their money.  It’s like telling someone how they should spend their life.  After all, they spent their time making the money.  If someone goes and buys 1000 cans of sardines at the dollar store and throws them back into the ocean thinking they’re freeing the fish, that’s their choice.  I’m just here to help show you a different option for your money (time, life). JMTC.

Like Mr. D said back in high school computer class: ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.’

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Why am I compelled to want to buy every new iPhone?
  • Is there some sort of invisible machine manipulating my mind and taking advantage of its biochemistry?
  • Does my iPhone 5S still work?
  • Do I really like my iPhone or do I think I like my iPhone because I have associated my iPhone to the positive feeling from receiving the notifications from messages and ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ and ‘shares’ from my friends and family?  (We should hook people up to brain scanners so we can see their brains in action real time).
  • Would I love any phone just as much as my iPhone as long as the bells and whistles kept ringing off the hook? [**replace iPhone with Android.  “I just love my Android (because it beeps at me non-stop)!”**]

(I’ve always wondered how/why using iMessage or sending messages from iPhone to iPhone were free.  Maybe it’s to make us love with our devices even more?)

Everyone loves a little extra cash in their checkbook.  The goal of this post was to refocus your eyes when looking at the mirror.  The new iPhone the insatiable ego sees in the mirror is an ephemeral illusion because it will transform into a different but similar looking new iPhone each successive year.  You are doing yourself a favor two-fold by spending the $1000 bucks on a plane ticket to somewhere you’ve never been.

  1. You’re breaking a bad habit (yes, my judgement)
  2. You’re getting out of your comfort zone and exploring a different part of the world.  Discover what your genes are made of!2016-07-01-18-10-15

Take the leap!  From The Last Resort’s bungee platform in Nepal – 160 meters

Love stories.  First one comes from the owner of Alobar 1000 Hostel in Kathmandu, Nepal.  Had the opportunity to sit down with this awesome soul and to hear his life story over cappuccinos.  He attended UCLA where he studied business and he stayed to work in the US before ultimately deciding to go back to Nepal to settle down.  He told me about how there’s a different feeling in the US, this feeling of never being satisfied, of always wanting more thinking it would bring happiness.  It’s as if they were chasing something that could never be caught.

…. ^Maybe this is what the rat race smells like?  He didn’t need to watch the Story of Stuff to understand the current phenomenon that has captured the conscience of American citizens.  The outsider, fly-on-the-wall perspective, sees the big picture.

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” – Lily Tomlin

And maybe this is the reason why sugar is in everything…  [This Rat Race is proudly sponsored by: sugar in doughnut, tomato sauce, white bread, pringles and salad dressing form.]

“So I have a question, and my question is, I was wondering, does anyone here know, if you take a soda, let’s say a 34 ounce soda, which is increasingly becoming the normal size, like this one, and you drink it – imagine that you’re back in the Palaeolithic period, and you want to consume the equivalent amount of sugar. How much sugar cane — if you stumbled upon a sugar cane field, how much would you have to eat, how many feet of sugar cane do you think you’d have to eat?

I brought some sugar cane. How many feet of sugar cane do you think you’d have to consume to reach that level? Any ideas? One… how many sticks do you think you’d have to eat? They’re pretty big. Not quite 40 feet. You’d have to eat 8.5 feet of sugar cane to reach that level. That’s an awful lot of sugar.” – Debunking the Paleo Diet with Cristina Warriner, TEDxOU

Nothing to reflect on here – doubt anyone reading this has ever sat down and chewed 8.5 feet of sugarcane.  But let’s project into the future: would we ever sit down and chew 8.5 feet of sugarcane?  If you have chewed 8.5 feet of sugarcane in one sitting, did you have enough teeth left for a second helping?

…. Sorry.  The story from Alobar 1000’s owner.  Imagine a wise father that had a hard life (developing world) telling the story to his young song.  We’ll call it a Nepali Fable:

Once there was a small little turtle that lived at the bottom of the ocean.  He spent all his days of the year at the bottom of this ocean where it’s cold and dark.  But once a year he would make a journey to the surface of the ocean.  Swimming and hoping as he kept his head up towards the surface, he would avoid the big fish and paddle hard against the currents.  He would reach the surface, take a nice breath of clean air with the sun shining down, and then dive back down to live at the bottom of the ocean for the rest of the year.  But every year, he made the same trip.  

Now, on the surface of this big vast ocean there floats a small ring.  Like a lifesaver ring.  Imagine how big this ocean is and how small this ring is that’s floating on the surface with the waves and the storms pushing and pulling at this ring.  

What are the chances that the little turtle pops its head up out of the water right when the ring is overhead so that he finds himself with the lifesaver around his neck?

(Think about your answer.  Stay tuned for the moral of the story.)

Story number two.

So I’m digging with these young American boys and girls, their Mom’s observing from behind, in the sweet potato box at Kiyuna Farm.  We spot a few of them and all the kids get excited.  ‘Can I dig?’  ‘Can I have the sweet potato?’  These are small sweet potatoes about the length of your finger.  The kids are getting antsy and excited and before I know it everyone is scratching at the dirt with their bare hands and wanting to be one of the lucky three (there were three sweet potatoes) with a sweet potato in their hands.  I had to raise my voice slightly to regain control of their rising emotions, “Hey now, everyone stop.  Let me dig.  We need to be gentle with these sweet potatoes otherwise they’ll break.”  After I solo-dig for a minute or two, the sweet potatoes are now loosened enough to be plucked from the soil.  It was a mistake to ask one of the girls to take one of the sweet potatoes; the other kids dove in with their hands to retrieve the remaining.  One of the slightly older girls began to cry because she didn’t get a sweet potato.  “Honey, stop crying.  This is ridiculous.  You’re crying over a sweet potato,” consoled and reprimanded the girl’s mother.

Now, this was just one occasion.  But I’m curious to know if this behavior is representative of American children or children in general.  Japanese elementary school kids have come to Kiyuna in the past.  Unfortunately we didn’t dig for sweet potatoes so we can make no comparison to the American kids.  But from my experience, Japanese children are not as rowdy as American kids (could diet be a factor? Got sugar?).  They are much more calm and well-mannered; it’s difficult for me to imagine Japanese kids fighting for sweet potatoes in the garden.  These American kids that came to the farm can not represent all American kids out there; there are some less-eager sweet-potato snatchers out there.  But if there’s one group with insatiable egos, there’s likely to be another.

Is it possible American kids are being taught the ways of the insatiable ego during their formative years?

2016-12-06-11-55-27100 Japanese elementary schoolers visiting Kiyuna Farm


Kiyuna Farm family and wwoofers.  Camera: iPhone 4S.  Snazzy.  The best part about this phone is its blockiness and lack of curvature: it can stand upright without having to lean on anything.  Can the iPhone 7 do this?  Not 100% sure, but from briefly glancing at my Bro’s, you’d have to buy some sort of accessory.  … The Story of Stuff.


The Three-Foot World of the Emoting Machine. Think with the heart. Live hard, train harder, die easy. =」

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