…uality, Avant-Garde par excellence; to follow one’s own path — do your own thing; dynamic change”). To such men I propose that a far more parsimonious way to live forever is to exit the trajectory of productive time, so that a single moment might open almost to infinity. As John Muir once said, “Longest is the life that contains the largest amount of time-effacing enjoyment.”
I’m suggesting that we protect our spaces and our time for non-instrumental, non-commercial activity and thought, for maintenance, for care, for conviviality. And I’m suggesting that we fiercely protect our human animality against all technologies that actively ignore and disdain the body, the bodies of others, and the body of the landscape that we inhabit.
So connectivity is a share or, conversely, a trigger; sensitivity is an in person conversation, whether pleasant or difficult, or both. Obviously, online platforms favor connectivity, not simply by virtue of being online, but also arguably for profit, since the difference between connectivity and sensitivity is time, and time is money. Again, too expensive.
…already mentioned literal listening, or Deep Listening, but this time I mean it in a broader sense. To do nothing is to hold yourself still so that you can perceive what is actually there. As Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist who records natural soundscapes, put it: “Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.”
That’s a strategic function of nothing, and in that sense, you simply could file my talk simply under the heading of self care. But if you do, make it “self care” in the activist sense that Audre Lorde meant it in the 1980s — self preservation as an act of political warfare – and not what it means when it’s been appropriated for commercial ends. As Gabrielle Moss, author of Glop (a Goop parody book) put it, self care “is poised to be wrenched …
…ain ourselves. It’s a kind of nothing that’s necessary for, at the end of the day, doing something. In this time of extreme overstimulation, I suggest that we reimagine #FOMO as #NOMO, the necessity of missing out, or if that bothers you, #NOSMO, the necessity of sometimes missing out.
…and nonhuman entities. It turns out that groundedness requires actual groundedness, in the ground. “Direct sensuous reality,” writes Abram, “in all its more-than-human mystery, remains the sole solid touchstone for an experiential world now inundated with electronically generated vistas and engineered pleasures; only in regular contact with the tangible ground and sky can we learn how to orient and to navigate in the multiple dimensions that now claim us.”
Berardi, contrasting modern day Italy with the political agitations of the 1970s, says the regime he inhabits “is not founded on the repression of dissent; nor does it rest on the enforcement of silence. On the contrary, it relies on the proliferation of chatter, the irrelevance of opinion and discourse, and on making thought, dissent, and critique banal and ridiculous.” Instances of censorship, he says, “are rather marginal when compared to what is essentially an immense informational overload and an actual siege of attention, combined with the occupation of the sources of information by the head of the company.”
It’s a cruel confluence of time and space: just as we lose noncommercial spaces, we also see all of our own time and our actions as potentially commercial. Just as public space gives way to faux-public retail spaces or weird corporate privatized parks, so we are sold the idea of compromised leisure, a freemium leisure that is a very far cry from “what we will.”⁴