Exploring the crossroads of religion, culture, and science through a Pagan lens

No Service

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“No service.”

That’s the terrifying and baffling message that so many iPhone users saw at the top of their smartphone last week.  Many people who updated their phone’s operating system to the new and highly publicized iOS 8 as soon as it came out found that the new software, great as it may be, had one rather significant bug: it disabled their phone service. It prevented your device from connecting to your cellular service. It made your phone no longer a phone.

To be clear, I’m not one of those Apple haters. I love my iPhone (which I haven’t updated yet). I love my iPad (tried to update it, but got an error message). I don’t care what kind of phone anyone out there uses, but I’m fascinated by the idea that the company that essentially invented the smartphone created an operating system that negated such a basic function.

I have a theory as to how this happened. I can’t prove this theory. I have no evidence for this theory whatsoever. Those who actually know anything about the tech industry or computer code would probably laugh me out of the room. This is just a guess. I think that Apple’s software developers were so focused on the sexy new features they were working on, so pressured to get their new system out to meet deadlines and get in front of the competitors that they completely forgot about the bare bones basics, the lowest part of the Maslow phone pyramid: making phone calls.

It’s not a rare thing. We do this often in our lives. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in competition for goods, having the nicest stuff, or proving how good we are that we forget some of the very basic things about living an effective life.

  • We do it when we get so wrapped up in work and our to-do list that we neglect to put effort into our most important relationships.
  • We do it when we neglect our body’s basic needs because we’re always hurrying from one commitment to another. We neglect to eat right, take care of health problems our bodies scream at us about, or get enough sleep.
  • We do it when we assume that, as spiritual people, it is somehow wrong to be financially secure. The truth is, when your finances allow you to meet all your needs without worry, you are in a much better place to work on your spiritual needs.
  • We do it when we become so convinced about the “rightness” of our spiritual path that we look down on or are openly hostile to others. This happens both underneath the Pagan umbrella and outside its bounds. Some people within the Pagan community are just as likely to make fun of a Wiccan as they are a Christian. Both serve no purpose in your own spiritual growth. Plus they make you look like an asshole.
  • We do it when we think of ourselves as so advanced in our path that we neglect its essentials like meditation, ritual, daily practice, and reading.

It’s so easy to seek out attractive extras in life. They make us feel good. Sometimes they are even convenient excuses to ignore some of the basic functions in life. How convenient it is to say, “I don’t have time to meditate,” when really you just want to sleep a little longer, or use “I’m too busy to make dinner, I’ll just go to [fill in name of your favorite fast food joint here]” as an excuse to indulge your unhealthy craving.  Every choice like this brings short term pleasure but slowly wears away at your physical, mental, or spiritual health. They eat at your personal operating system.

Maybe you can think of some things you do that aren’t on this list, but qualify. What are your sexy but destructive behaviors and ideas? As we approach Samhain, maybe it’s time to put those fun but harmful habits into their graves. We all have them. Me included. To pretend otherwise would be just another self-destructive deception. This is a good time to recognize them and start working on a new system that may be less attractive but transforms us into happier, healthier people. As we move toward the Witch’s new year, maybe it’s a good time to ensure that, when the Wheel turns, you don’t get that dreaded message:

“No service.”


Author: Tim

I am a teacher, a theater lover, and a High Priest in the Temple of Witchcraft. I love to point out the places where the everyday world, arts, science, and religion intersect. I stand for interfaith cooperation and the belief that people of all religions, political beliefs, and nationalities have more in common with each other than differences.

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