This week will feature two incredible technological advances, one on the information highway, and the other on a structural highway. Apple computer has created the iPhone, the world’s most advanced mobile phone, iPod, and computer. You can talk, access e-mail and the Internet, watch movies, and listen to music. The iPhone sells for $500-$600 (depending on how many gigabytes) and requires a 2-year contract with AT&T.
Apple has launched an amazing marketing campaign; I looked at the promo videos, where someone is watching the Pirates of the Caribbean, and when the scene of the giant squid attacking the ship appears the viewer is seized by a sudden urge to eat Calamari. The movie is paused so the viewer can google seafood restaurants (even see sample menus) and make a reservation. The satellite-powered iPhone will allow you to keep in touch with anyone, anywhere and at any time. People will be camping out at storefronts on Thursday night to be the first to get one.
Also this week, the Chinese will begin to build a highway to the base camp at Mount Everest. This road will make the summit of Everest more accessible for the runners carrying the Olympic torch to the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. These games will provide the longest torch relay in Olympic history: 85,000 miles in 130 days, crossing five continents, and the highway will launch the relay runners to the top of the 29,035-ft. summit of Mount Everest.
This highway will now make access to Mount Everest much easier for the ever increasing numbers of climbers. This mountain, sacred to Tibetan Buddhists, was once only accessible to those few who, upon reaching the summit, gave thanks for this launching point to heaven. We all know that with a maintained highway and permanent campgrounds, climbers armed with iPhones will be transmitting pictures, ordering in sushi and arranging for caterers to deliver champagne at the base camp Helipad after their successful ascents.
Help me Relatives — tell me I’m not the only one who, if I arrived at the most inaccessible place on earth, would just like to be there. I don’t want to be found in every moment, I don’t want to record it, transmit it or talk about it. I want to be quiet, awestruck, and feel it at the cellular level rather than transmit it.
Remember Mahatma Gandhi’s great admonition for staying healthy and in balance, “If you’re going to be somewhere, be there.” The highway to Heaven is neither paved by roads nor available by reservation, you get there by yourself . . . in silence.