Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fitter Happier More deductive

Extracts from insights on Radiohead

We are often stunned and we are often distracted, and we are bewildered almost all of the time. And the only weapon we have—as individuals and as a scatter of grouplets—is the delicate brain now so perilously balanced in the struggle for public sanity. . . . We feel that we are living in a world in which the citizen has become a mere spectator or a forced actor.

Our ever deepening dependence and engagement with the technologies of modern life, therefore, may lead to changes in our selves, to ourselves, that we might in fact reject or regret were we to understand them and see them for what they are. We might all collapse in shock or despair were we to face some truths about ourselves—truths that we never paid attention to, that no one ever talked about, even though they were obvious and in front of our faces all along. What would really hurt, of course, is realizing that that we’d done it to ourselves.

If you accepted the constant promiscuous broadcasts as normalcy, there were messages in them to inflate and pet and flatter you. If you realize this chatter was altering your life, killing your privacy or ending the ability to think in silence. It was up to you to change the channel, not answer the phone, stop your ears, shut your eyes, dig a hole for yourself and get in it. Really, it was your responsibility.

It doesn’t name a single enemy. It doesn’t propose revolution. It doesn’t call you to overthrow an order that you couldn’t take hold of anyway at any single point, not without scapegoating a portion and missing the whole. This defiance—it might be the one thing we can manage, and better than sinking beneath the waves. It requires the retention of a private voice.

Meanings are fluid and just as we think we’ve gotten something into focus, it seems to dissolve before our eyes. It often derives in a kind of anxiety not because meaning our own lives are continually challenged by an indifferent world. It is caused by never quite succeeding in bringing into focus what those meaning might be. Given every body as itself a part of the world, there cannot be firm boundaries to calm us. But if boundaries are uncertain and meanings fluid, there’s also the possibility of establishing new boundaries and constructing new meanings. Opening the possibility for reconstruction.