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The photo on top is my spouse Muriel on the left and my sister Taeko on the right taken in South Africa. Picture on the right is me, Tad Mitsui and my cat, George.
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I saw a woman of certain age at a restaurant, who was obviously addicted to her phone. She looked at and clicked on the devise every few minutes. Her table was next to ours. I felt guilty lurking, but could not help it because her behaviour was so extraordinary. Her sister, I assumed she was judging from the resemblance, kept putting her hand on sister’s phone to restrain her. In the end, the woman put her phone on her laps and continued checking it while eating dinner. If that was not addiction, what else could it be called? I shuddered to think of her driving a car. However, one sees similar scenes everywhere nowadays.
I saw a recent statistics showing that the traffic fatality caused by distracted driving is six times that of driving while intoxicated. It is 16% of all road fatalities. Most are cases of speaking or texting on the phone while driving. The report says it is now the leading cause of death on the road. It is a very serious problem, more serious than that of death by opioid overdose. Why is it then the problem is not talked about more prominently?
I understand that addiction to internet causes damages to the same organ made by other types of addiction like alcohol, drugs, and gambling. I also understand that internet addiction is caused by not merely psychological but also biological change. It is a serious public health issue. Digital technology has now become integral part of our life. Society would not function without it. Then the question is; what can you do to avoid the damaging effect of internet addiction?
Speaking as a recovered dialled-up “Chat Room” addict (remember those days?), the solution is the same as that for any other addictions: Disciplined consumption. It can be harder than “cold turkey.” Besides, total abstention often does not work. It has been tried before with drugs. We can get addicted to all sorts of things, not only to alcohol and drugs. But you can keep consuming under a strict regime with right amount, frequency, and timing, without being totally destroyed. We can avoid destructive result of addiction to devises by setting time, duration, and frequency. It takes will-power. Once it becomes a habit, it is easier. This is what we do with alcohol, food, and recreation; disciplined consumption. All can be good for you in moderation.
Many people hate wearing masks. They say: requiring masks and not allowing to gather for worship is an attack on the fundamental right to freedom. But we must remember that we wear masks primarily to prevent spreading deadly virus to other people, because we don ’t know if we are carrying virus or not. We are not free to endanger people’s lives: like driving through a red light, texting while driving, and indiscriminately shooting a gun.
Maybe some people like pubescent boys don’t want to be told. When WW II ended in 1945, many silly little rules were cancelled in Japan. I was an incorrigible grade seven 12 year old. “Free at last!” I decided to let my hair grow. During the war, all school boys had to keep their hair very short like an US Marine. I was summoned to the principal’s office. I got tired of cutting hair so often. My hair would not harm anybody except making me look like a weirdo, I said. They didn’t know what to do with me, but they knew they couldn’t force me to cut hair: I kept my hair.
Freedom is our fundamental right for sure. It’s the hallmark of liberal democracy. Freedom gives birth to creativity. However it is a particular dilemma for America where it’s sacred and a gun is the symbol. America is proudly a land of liberty. The Second Amendment gives the right to bear arms against arbitrary measures.
That’s why there are more creative people in America; but it is the most violent society. Americans have won the largest number of Nobel Prize in all fields. But it’s where the largest number of people killed by the guns held by fellow Americans: the second largest number of deaths after traffic accidents.
I treasure my freedom. I am keeping the same spirit of a 12 year old long hair wiredo. But I want to live a long life too.