Telephones and self-improvement

February 23, 2012

Cell phones, Self-improvement

In terms of self-improvement, technology changes and people change with it.

by Irene Conlan — 

I have been hosting a radio show for a year now, and it has been an amazing ride. Last month, I interviewed a woman in Bath, England, and you would think I was talking to someone across town. The next week, my guest who was supposed to be in Ontario, Canada, was instead teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, and last week, my guest was in Auckland, New Zealand.

Using the telephone or Skype, I broadcast from my living room in Scottsdale, Ariz., while my guests are literally located all over the world. It is like the Disneyland song, “It’s a Small World,” come to life.

I am reminded of my childhood, when we lived in a small town in West Texas and had a hand-crank telephone on a party line. That was an experience in living. For those of you who have only had fancy cell phones or smart phones, a party line meant that you shared the line with a number of other families. It also meant we could listen in on each other’s conversations.

When we wanted to call someone on the line, we simply cranked that person’s ring — two longs and a short, for example, or a short, a long and a short — all kinds of combinations. If we needed someone not on our line or if we wanted to make a long-distance call, we cranked the ringer for the operator who had a switchboard in her home.

If we were calling people in town and they did not answer, we could ask the operator if she knew where they were. Sometimes she did and sometimes she did not, but it was always worth a try. Do I need to tell you that everyone in town knew everyone else’s business?

I remember a number of different phones as I was growing up. I loved the one with a long tube between the base and the mouthpiece, because as a little girl I could wrap my small hand around it while I held the receiver to my ear. I felt big and important when I was allowed to use it. As a teen I had a baby-blue princess phone in my own room — not my own line, but my own phone. I was limited in the amount of time I could spend on it, but I could hold private conversations about those things that teen girls love to talk about — boys, boys, boys — without being overheard by my parents.

It was a big deal when we went from a rotary dial to a push-button phone. Then, when AT&T was divided into smaller companies, we had to buy our own phone, instead of receiving an allocated one. Phones came out in all shapes and colors. I bought a red one just for the fun of it.

I got my first cell phone when I owned a business. The phone was huge, but it enabled me to run my company even if I was out of the office. I thought that phone was the greatest invention and that we had reached the pinnacle of innovation. But now we have come to smart phones that let you talk, play music, compete in games, take pictures, film videos and upload them to YouTube or Facebook, find a restaurant in your area and dial a number at your voice command — and more.

In terms of self-improvement, technology changes and people change with it. In relation to phones, like many other things, I think of the trite saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” While the phone has become feature-rich and much more complex to use, it is still a means to communicate. We still need to exchange information, and the phone lets us do that whether it is via land-line, cell phone or an Internet application. Just like in the old days, we still need to talk, listen and be listened to.

People have changed, as well. We seem to be more open to new ideas, more accepting of change and of differences, but we still have a long way to go. There is no limit to how much we can discover and how far we can push “new and improved.”

Telephones continue to evolve. And, as human beings, we have just scratched the surface of what we can learn and how much we can accomplish.

It is up to us to see that future changes include a greater understanding of ourselves and others and that we make progress in those things that truly matter and that contribute to the betterment of humanity.

Irene Conlan has a master’s degree in nursing, is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified past-life regression therapist in Scottsdale, Ariz. or

Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume 30, Number 6, Dec/Jan 2012.

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