The Associated Press has become the first international news organization with a full-time journalism operation in the totalitarian state, less than a month after the death of North Korea’s supreme ruler Kim Jong-Il. The AP’s CEO called the move “a path to vastly larger understanding and cultural enrichment for millions around the world,” but the legitimate journalists will share an office with the state-run media, which reported Kim’s perfect 300 in bowling and five holes-in-one in golf, among other, less superficial lies, so coexistence could take some practice.
Steve Jobs wasn’t exaggerating when he described the iPhone as a kind of magical object, and it’s truly wild that in the span of a few years, we’ve managed to turn these amazing talismanic tools into stress-inducing albatrosses. It’s as if scientists had invented a pill that gave us the ability to fly, only to find out that it also gave us dementia.
But there is a way out. I haven’t taken an M.R.I. or undergone a psychiatric evaluation, but I’d bet that something fundamental has shifted inside my brain in the past month. A few weeks ago, the world on my phone seemed more compelling than the offline world — more colorful, faster-moving and with a bigger scope of rewards.
I still love that world, and probably always will. But now, the physical world excites me, too — the one that has room for boredom, idle hands and space for thinking. I no longer feel phantom buzzes in my pocket or have dreams about checking my Twitter replies. I look people in the eye and listen when they talk. I ride the elevator empty-handed. And when I get sucked into my phone, I notice and self-correct.
It’s not a full recovery, and I’ll have to stay vigilant. But for the first time in a long time, I’m starting to feel like a human again.