Man who trades in iPhone for flip phone likens himself to contemporary Thoreau


Illustration by Elena Kaminskaia

Ann Karneus, Aroused

Although technology in the digital age provides us with instantaneous connections and a wealth of information, the sheer volume of these resources can lead to a life full of distractions. 

Sophomore Josh Frederickson is combatting this dilemma by deciding to give up his silver iPhone X for a sleek Motorola Razr V3 Flip mobile phone. 

“People these days are just so addicted to their phones… I wouldn’t say I’m better than people who have smartphones, but I feel sad for them because they can’t fully experience life like me.”

For the entire interview, Frederickson impulsively opened and closed the flip phone, played nine games of Tetris and baked six pies in the Cooking Mama demo.

The reasoning behind his ideological rebirth? Transcendentalism.  

“Nature to me is just so inspiring, and I feel so present when I’m surrounded by it… Oh, fuck! Shit. I lost the level. Sorry about that. Have you ever heard of Henry David Thoreau? I read the Wikipedia summary of ‘Walden’ and I just thought it was so brave and inspiring that he immersed himself in nature.”

In a brave show of civil disobedience, Frederickson took his old iPhone and smashed it to pieces with a hammer. He then collected the remains and floated them down Mill Creek in a symbolic renunciation of technology.

He encourages other smartphone owners to follow in his footsteps, and also believes that everyone should go on a six-week-long backpacking trip to learn about mindfulness. 

“My backpacking trip [last summer] around Europe was life-changing. I definitely wouldn’t be the man I am today if I hadn’t done that. After that, I got a tattoo of a tree, because nature is such an important aspect of my life. I’m thinking about getting another tree on my back, just because trees especially have had such a huge influence on me. ”

Along with urging people to be one with nature, he stresses the importance of authentic human connections that aren’t mediated by technology. Frederickson, who has not called his parents in five weeks and recently ghosted two girls, is unwavering in his stance.  

“Social media is just so fake… people aren’t their authentic selves online. I just want to travel the world and connect with people in authentic, present ways. I want to experience life, authentically.”