How to do Nothing
What does it mean to construct digital worlds while the actual world is crumbling before our eyes?
A man living in the attention economy attempted a humble and ethical life would certainly appear ‘backward’: for him, good would be bad, up would be down, productivity would be destruction, and indeed, uselessness would be useful.
Resistance-in-place: to resist in place is to make oneself into a shape that cannot so easily be appropriated by a capitalist value system. To do this means refusing the frame of reference: in this case, a frame of reference in which value is determined by productivity, the strength of one’s career, and individual entrepreneurship. It means embracing and trying to inhabit somewhat fuzzier or blobbier ideas: of maintenance as productivity, of the importance of nonverbal communication, and of the mere experience of life as the highest goal.
How do we even begin to define productivity? Productivity that produces what? Successful in what way, and for whom? The happiest, most fulfilled moments of my life have been when I was completely aware of being alive, with all the hope, pain, sorrow that that entails for any mortal being. In those moments, the idea of success as a teleological goal would have made no sense; the moments were ends in themselves, not steps on a ladder.
“I hope that the figure of ‘doing nothing’ in opposition to a productivity-obsessed environment can help restore individuals who can then help restore communities, human and beyond.”
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
“In the context of health and ecology, things that grow unchecked are often considered parasitic or cancerous… The life force is concerned with cyclicality, care, and regeneration; the death force sounds to me a lot like ‘disrupt’.”
“I find myself gravitating toward these kinds of spaces – libraries, small museums, gardens, columbaria – because of the way they unfold secret and multifarious perspectives even within a fairly small area.”
Information DDOS-ing in the attention economy: Instances of censorship 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 source of information by the head of the company"