Whereas lizards have the extraordinary ability to regenerate lost limbs – meaning that if the lizard loses a limb through conflict with a predator, it will grow back – people have a perhaps even more extraordinary ability to extent themselves with technological limbs: shoes, cars, bikes, warm winter coats, cellphones.
Mobile phones are a good example of a victorious second nature that becomes a first nature. Although they were introduced relatively recently, almost everyone carries a mobile device, and when you accidentally leave your house without your phone it feels naked, almost like you have been amputated, and you quickly run back to your house to grasp your missing limb – your cell phone – off the table.
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I've been thinking about this one for a long time. Technology is a new tree of life and mobile phones have become the most successful species (mp3 players are a close second, and pagers are a evolutionary dead end). It goes deeper when you think about the manufacture of these devices. You have factories churning our semi-conductors, chips and other components. Then you have another company that just makes screens that provide the crispest display. Then another company decides to put it all together and sets a team to program life into the device. It's all reminiscent of the way a cell uses its internal chemistry to power itself, bringing together different elements to create something more than the sum of its pieces. In 10 years time people will look back on the late 90s and realise "This is when the machines won the hearts and minds of the people. This is when we lost the war."