Sunday, 21 October 2007

Right Leg Ringxiety

Singapore has a modern mobile phone culture and I carrying mine pretty much 100%. I've adopted what Nokia's user survey identified as the middle-aged, male, mobile-on-belt style with the phone set to vibrate and ring. [The survey also found that most women put their mobile in their handbag (us: purse), and missed 50% of calls]. Devotees of this phone-on-the-belt style suffer phantom vibrations that you think are the phone. Indeed, some suffers of this ringxiety syndrome have reported this when they are not even wearing the phone, like an amputee's ghost limb.

On the one hand I'm glad it's not just me, but probably gastric movement or femoral blood flow. My new found journalistic drive is a bit annoyed that I didn't write about it earlier as now it looks like a "me too" article. But it got me wondering that if a vibrating phone can cause you to become aware of such background body signals, what else could we wear to make us more self-aware?

It seems logical that a passive object wouldn't work. A ring doesn't make you think about marriage all the time. I imagine a cross hung around the neck doesn't induce spiritual thoughts. Glasses don't make you think about your eyes. We blank these passive objects out of our conscious thoughts as they fade into the backdrop of our senses. The brain is wired to look for differences, for novelty. It begs the question, would a placebo heart pacemaker work as a device to focus our attention after we were trained to worry about it's alarms?