Archive | February 2012

Does this make me a bastard?

“But I don’t want your charity, keeping me down” – Skunk Anansie

BBC 1, as I begin to eat my dinner at a few minutes to 7pm: an advertisement about the upcoming Sport Relief major charity event, where a child gets chummy with his favourite sporting icons, when asking them to join in a two part costume to take part in the event. Then the always avoidable The One Show. 5 minutes in, the shows two presenters start jumping around, with bubbly smiles, in bright red costumes, telling us about the ‘importance of the charity event’, with narrated clips of past Sport Reliefs where certain celebrities have ‘done their bit’ to help the cause.

It’s hard to show negative reactions to events which the hype has built moral fire walls around.
Once one starts to frown, and refrains from praising these ‘great’ celebrity role models, it may look like one believes they have sniffed out a rat, that they think all the good intention is false, or even that one doesn’t want to be reminded of most desperate people/situations on the planet. Not at all.
I don’t doubt that the celebrities, like Eddie Izzard on his country-long marathon, do these things in the aim of helping people. But when I see all this enthusiasm and hype being (good)intentionally whipped up for the causes it aims to serve, I can’t help feeling a defeated sort of feeling, or the feeling that no matter how much I shouted “something is not right here” it is translated by those around me into “I’m trying to be controversial by slagging off things there to help needy people”. But as long as our guiding light remains Live Aid, and big charity events are the main way of helping those (and those things) that are in the most desperate situations, I can only conclude that their problems won’t only conclude but will increase.

So, is one mean and selfish if they find the televised screams, and ‘bubbly’ street charity workers’ shouts for our help annoying and troubling? You may think this is the case, but it would be a very simple way of looking at it, a way that doesn’t allow for the thoughts that it maybe isn’t a rule of nature that so many people are in need of hand outs from generous people. If I didn’t care for the homeless, I wouldn’t find it so upsetting when I see people in train stations with all their possessions they can carry in transparent bags, wondering where they will spend their first night without a home. If I didn’t care about nature, and climate change, and the damage humans are doing to the planet, why would the subject be noticeable (in some form) in nearly every piece of art work I have made for the best part of a decade? Surely one doesn’t need to dissect the societal norms around them, to see that something has seriously gone pear-shaped when we are surrounded by so much call for charity, on every street corner, and in every newspaper, with logos that strangely seem to enhance the legitimacy of the big company logos which occupy the same areas?

Running “1, 3 or 6 miles” doesn’t change things for the better, changes to the social system do; changes to a system where it has been normalised for more government money to be spent on bailing bankers out and military spending, and world sporting events (where nation states childishly compete to outdo each other with fancy shaped buildings and fireworks), than on helping the world’s poor or tackling climate change. Mass charity is what happens when society stalls, and goes back on the idea of progress. Big charity events merely give causes their ’15 minutes of fame’ where they can appear on the stage of the usually much more don’t-give-a-shit spectacle complex, to make our hearts momentarily bleed, hopefully just enough to be thrown a few crumbs to keep them afloat before the spectacle gets back to its usual task of keeping us as consumers hooked on dreams.

Charity of course, fits perfectly into this consumerist complex. Which is why the logos of the charities whose workers chase your guilt up and down high streets actually enhance the legitimacy of the big company logos that occupy these same areas. Giving money to a charity, or competing in an event to raise funds, is merely the purchase of ones exemption from the guilt of living within highly exploitative and destructive system, and this exemption allows for one to then go and buy from the big companies, with the exemption from the guilt allowing us to momentarily forget that these companies, if not themselves ruthlessly exploiting people and the environment in other parts of the world, are certainly part of a framework of companies bolstering the legitimacy of doing so.

And by stating that this is what I feel a world consisting of innumerable charities allows for, I am still not saying that all those who do give money or time to charity do think in such a cynical manner. But I do think one registers it as ‘doing their bit to help’, and may actually believe that it can cancel out the negative effect of shopping at big company stores (which of course we all have to do because it is has been almost impossible not to). I also think that it results from an unquestioning acceptance that this way (the way of charity being the only help for the most desperate situations whilst the real riches of the world are utilised for crueler ends) is seen as the only way, as if all we can do to help the most needy, from now until the end of the human race, is to throw them just enough crumbs to survive. Keeping them down, of course.

The Quintessential Young Person-alienation That Now Carries on Into Later Life

Sheffield

Do you feel like an angst-ridden teenager at 28? Which no confirmation of true age, when confronted with an ever-more aging face staring back at you from every reflection, can eradicate? With the ever-mounting pressure to remain young, to be hip, adventurous and to be eternally striving to advance oneself and be ‘living’ the high times, that is mediated to us by young-looking role models (whether they are actually young or incredibly well photo-shopped), the effects of alienation and discontent that traditionally by-and-large affect teenagers, now affect people further and further into their adult lives. The size 30 waistline is truly strangling us right into our 30’s. Yet there’s never any talk of this –  alienating those caught in this existential no-man’s-land furthermore.

Doing my artwork from home, and having a job (when I have one at all) that gives me days off in the middle of the week (which no friends usually have free also), a much needed escape from my cul-de-sacked-residence is usually destined to be relatively solitary one, estranged from the friends who I don’t have the confidence to call until the time of day when English towns have become alcohol-gated communities. I’ve got into an early-afternoon habit, once my hands can’t take any more biro-gripping and key typing, of heading to towns/cities within the 20 mile affordable-to-travel-to radius. But once I get there I am suddenly confronted by an attack from conventional reasoning as to why I am in this place. Amidst the races of individuals trying to get places from the station terminus, I begin to stall, getting in peoples’ way. They seem to have purpose; a life which they are in such a rush to resume. I don’t. Just what am I doing here?

Untitled

I start to feel a sense of not belonging, an estrangement, and an eagerness to find a place. An uneasiness I expected to be way beyond by now. My mind starts repeating “I’m 28 for god’s sake!”, desperately trying to make it feel true in the physical world. But no matter how I try to rush off’ trains when I’m meeting a friend, or arranging a van to pick my artworks up from an exhibition, my life seems to stay put. Nothing has really changed since I was the shy 16 year old school leaver who would avoid people he went to school with in the street, rather than have to walk past them, in fear of being ignored by them all together.

Many thougths and sights gather and congeal during the course of day that make me look back from these ‘post-Fordist’ times to the lives of my ‘Fordist’predecessors (the previous generations) in shame and embarrassment. Families, homes, ‘proper’ jobs in their 20’s. These societal changes don’t seem to register on the tips of most tongues, and whether possible to do so or not, there is boding expectation to make your way through the world, which hangs heavier around ones neck every time their age hits a higher twenty-something. But what’s there to be made, doesn’t make for this, and what lies in wait just perpetuates your past doings.

5

If we stick to the core meaning of alienation – to feel that you don’t belong; to feel not at home in your own surroundings – then this alienation may be behind why, after getting off the train, I then make my way to sit in the very chain cafes that I am often critical of for driving small businesses out of existence. In towns/cities which aren’t ‘my home town’, where I am at for no real reason, I feel out of context with the surroundings, with an imaginary person whispering “you don’t belong here” in my ear. And these coffee shops are out of context because they are everywhere and are thus nowhere; a place alienated from its surroundings for an individual who feels alienated (which in no way exempts me from the guilt of frequenting such places). And after that where? For, when I’ve done sitting in the cafe, I don’t really allow for anything much to ‘happen’, because I’m too eager for the feeling of at-least going somewhere, which the train back home-wards provides, and is this the underlying spur for the endeavour.

Regarding those who meander in solitude up and down streets, cultural discourse would have it that it’s a 15-19 age thing, circumventing the age of The Catcher In The Rye’s socially lost protagonist Holden Caulfield. And this holds true for musical tastes also; where bands dealing with discontent and alienation (a prime example being Nirvana, but I also the likes of Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, The The, Joy Division) are neatly categorised as “angry young man music/the sort of music I listened to in my teen angst days” (yes, I have actually heard these said), as a call to get rid of these feelings of not fitting into society, as if it’s an ‘age thing’, to find your seat within the big arena, something many seem depressingly able to do without any noticeable painful transition.

Well, the said bands are still some of my closest audio companions, and I first read the Catcher In The Rye when I was 25 years old, yet felt utterly in tune with this teenage protagonists aimless journeys to places in a city, that he realised he had no reason for being at once he’d arrived. Consequently I feel offended by the usual back-cover reviews describing the book as ‘the quintessential book about teenage-angst ‘, to paraphrase the many.

What does this mean? Does it mean completely shelving everything I have just said just in order for it to be fitting to say “you need to move on (grow up)”? Well, if that is so, please fucking show me how to! Please show me how to move on from this junction-less ring road. If my brain was made of nuts and bolts rather than organic tissue I’d gladly let you tinker around with a screwdriver if there was any hope of lifting the veil of grey mist blocking sight of progression into an ‘acceptable’ place to be for an adult. But it wouldn’t work. Plans are being made now, but if you see me still looking vacantly at train departure electronic boards in 1 year’s time, don’t be surprised.

IMG_2591

But is it just me who cannot grow?

Weekends seem to actually induce mini-crisis points, from where I wish I’d never asked my boss for them off, because it seems so much easier to be working. At least on weekdays I can at least be functional in my usual doings, and not feel bowled-over by omnipresent ‘evidence’ to a uncertain self of people having purpose to their weekly working as they are meeting up during their shared time off with friends for a much earned rest.

At least on weekdays, I see others as being in the same boat as me, as equally struggling to deal with the cultural norms subjected onto them. And I see other reasons for the causation of alienation. Looking at every lone person on a bus, every lone person with time on their hands, I’m seeing others who are alienated and needing a place also. Everyone’s looking for contact via their mobile phones. Perhaps it isn’t just directly the propagation of youthful imagery that perpetuates the teen alienation into adulthood, but the rapidity of the amount of electrical communication?

When others contact you it makes you feel wanted, but not merely wanted in the ‘desired’ sense but wanted in existence. Someone of strong enough self certainty to avoid irrational anxieties, may not need to needed/wanted by others in order to make their existence seem of worth, but for others, lost in the blur of a fast-paced life, lack of contact with others, when all you see around you in the street is others texting/talking on phones, can make you feel anxious about your own worthiness of existence upon this planet. Thus you begin rapidly texting people, and the desire to get (back) onto social networking sites, such as Facebook, hangs like big tangled branches from every inhalation and exhalation. I tend to text with more ferocity the more I feel like the spectrum of life is passing be by, and also when I’m places where I feel like I don’t belong, and regardless of what they text says, the real message is ‘Hey, I’m here! Don’t forget me”. And of course it is for everybody else.

The link between why we are a society both equally hooked to high-tech forms of communication and the pummeling from youth-obsessed imagery, is what I’d argue is also the link between my inability to move past my alienation and the social system we live under. We never feel complete, thus we never feel like we belong.

Where am I? Where do I want to be? Should I be moving in a certain direction? Why aren’t I moving?

Anti-depressants are social control first and foremost, and when the desired effect they provide is wearing off one can feel their functioning in society stumbling, and occasionally tumbling. It’s at points like this when you realise “yes, the system does try to control me”. It’s such a disenfranchising feeling, and if I don’t trust the system how can I find help from within it? I can’t without capitulating, and that just never works because I’m too alienated from its design for life for it to successfully take me over (and yes, at terrible moments, when aimlessness is coupled with despair, I have begged it to take me over, like Winston Smith crying for mercy in the arms of O’Brien in 1984’s room 101; control and de-characterize me, as long as you take away this pain).

I have tried quite a few of the system’s offers of help, but none can give you help based upon your own understanding of the world. Another method of help from within the system is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT’s advice for the patient seems to be taken directly from the psychotherapy ideas which encourage hiding from the Social to work entirely on the Personal – ideas taken on board by elites, which have helped reconfigure the system to one based on control by keeping individuals trapped in a never-ending solitary pursuit for personal satisfaction. Thus the only help it can give you, to put it in a ruthless way, is to forget the problems of the world, and of others, that surround you, to dedicate yourself to a constant proving of your innocence and exemption from it all, in order to pursue an enjoyable life. To anyone who has spent much of their life concerned about what’s going off in the world, the therapy will be defunct from day one. The practitioners seem to genuinely want to help you live a better life, and you can’t help warming to them due to their friendliness. But, in effect, it’s arguable that you continue attending out of gratitude for their efforts, rather than the help actually being of use (it’s almost becomes the reverse of wha it is supposed to be: you go in care of their wellbeing, rather than the improvement of your own). This is unless one can take on board the system’s coding. But to do so means an initial wiping of one’s character; surely it must?

“All we want from you are the kicks you’ve given us” (Motorcycle Emptiness, Manic Street Preachers).

Certain friends would advise me to reject the system’s advice (i.e. the general societal advice understood from the collectivised ideas, suggestions and orders, mediated and spoken to us). So far, this has been all-but-impossible, and my time just seems to be spent on a mental ring road, where my thoughts just chase each other around and around (which is played out in the physical world by hopping onto trains in hope of finding a solution, only to arrive at places and suddenly wonder why I’ve even come here; Knowing that I might as well as stayed on the train as that’s where the sensation of moving onwards resides). But how can one reject a society completely when one has spent their entire life subjected by its images and words, guiding one towards its mores, and making anything less seem like a bleak prospect? When one is also so utterly dependent on it? Are these endless internal debates the fate of all humans who feel compelled to question and scrutinize? If I managed to exist without the pressures and mores of society grabbing me, would I find stability and acceptance? But can the greatest of philosophers even manage this?

The past month probably hasn’t been the wisest of times to begin a reduction to the intake of my Sertraline 50mg, anti-depressant, prescription; as my wage-earning work (to differentiate from my art-making work) has momentarily all but stopped, leaving me without a wage-necessity-dictated structure. So when one starts to feel ‘the dips’ that the emotional-levelling anti-depressants usually block, without a structure to give superficial meaning to one’s day, the marching from place to place loses its steam, and there is nothing to bury one’s head into, and one starts to feel worthless due to being unable to stop comparing their predicament to those who, superficially, seem to have a more purposeful life, a feeling exacerbated by the lack of money from being laid off without pay.

In life in general I feel that I am getting nowhere, and that the only progress I am making is an advancement of grey hairs and wrinkles. I understand this is philosophical poverty, but I never seem to have the space to fundamentally ‘get a grip’, and when life does leave massive dollops of time at my disposal it is usually because I am having feelings of worthlessness and uselessness, that scare me and compel me to get back on a treadmill, any treadmill, as long as it’s moving fast: when I have time to think, I often feel too fragile to question and scrutinize.

I’m sat writing parts of this whilst invigilating a gallery space. A video is being shown which is a continuous slow changing of photographs focussing on a woodland space, where one can see the seasons slowly take over from each other. This, of course is a continuous process. The video is continuous. There is no beginning and no end, except when I have to switch it off after the gallery as closed for the day. The seasons change; this continuous cycle should give me the courage to find meaning within my own continuous cycles, that’s if it wasn’t for the spectres of climate change and capitalism forcing me to feel like I need to ‘hurry the fuck up’.

But does my critique of the system mean I am ruthlessly against every element of the state?

This is where I get confused as to what kind of world I’d want. Or, more accurately, what kind of world I believe is achievable in the face of so many threats to humanity. I do, after all, have an unshakable desire for the continuation of humankind. Finding something or lots of different ‘somethings’ that help 7 billion people live on this earth, without fear of annihilation is the upmost priority for me – I cannot take flight from this. We cannot sit back and allow the possibility of apocalyptic scenarios scientist James Lovelock, amongst others, predict will wipe billions off the world’s population by the end of the century. Our being creates meaning; our existence allows for the world to be; without us there are still things there, but they are in nothingness. My mind is absorbed in this bigger picture, and I’m not in a position, nor am I the person that could think up any solutions, so I just get confused into despair.

Strangely I was thrown into a spell of depression recently after I read an article in complete rejection of the modern industrial world; the Europeanization process was how this writer described it; but its consequences can now be described as parts of the capitalist process. One would think I would be glad to find voices critical of such a de-humanizing, elitist, and environmentally destructive process (which, since its conception, has arguably always been on course to build a dystopia, a situation I would argue we are within now), and I am usually, yet certain voices can leave me in despair. The words were spoken by a leader of The Native American, Russell Means, and had to be written down by somebody else, because for him writing (or at least the dependency on written rather than spoken word) was a key source in the Europeanisation modernising process, that leads to an abstraction from the world we exist in, which has engendered Europe’s (or the Wests) ability to abuse the earth, due to becoming to see it (from the land to the people who live on it) as something which is there to be exploited, the bounties of the earth as a means to an end, which has led us to this catastrophic point; an argument that each technological advance has been borne out of this reckless model, and that it is all defunct and living on borrowed time, with a belief that nothing can stop this civilisation’s collapse.

I cannot disagree with most of this. But his solution, or not so much solution but stand point which he, and many others who believe a complete abandonment of the urbanised/industrialised, leaves me in a state of despair, from where I need to go for a cider just to soften the fear of oblivion. How can we go back to a state of living where we aren’t dependent on such technologies, without either seeing hundreds of millions die in the process, or letting a process that kills hundreds of millions arrive us at this point? We can’t. I can’t see how we can get back to a point which negates all the technological advances from this Europeanisation process, without consigning a hefty chunk of humanity to its doom. We couldn’t turn our backs on our technological advances even if we decided we didn’t need cars, computers, microwaves etc. ; we need advanced technologies to feed so many mouths, to provide energy to the system’s that keep us warm in places naturally cold, and for essential communication between different areas so we can act together in necessary times such as environmental disasters, and these are but a tiny percentage of the reasons we cannot now live without it. A very down-to earth, ‘grow your own’ way of living is a great way of teaching us what we’ve forgotten in our urban/suburban lives, but it just wouldn’t be possible for 7 billion people, on a planet which is already sweating and twitching due to our messing up of its ecosystems. But how can we manage to maintain the systems to do this without maintaining the nation states that control (or at least sub-control) them?

So, do I believe in trying to change things from inside the current social system, peacefully? Or do I believe in completely rejecting the current social system, both by subtracting from it, and by striking back against it, violently if necessary? I am always confused as to who I believe is right and who is wrong when it comes to trying to change the world for the better. Although I wouldn’t normally do so, if I had to categorise myself, not in a sense of any political alignments, but in a sense of the kind of person I am, I would have to label myself as an anarchist communist: I have always been adamantly individualistic, often to my own loss (even to the extent where I have to overcome a massively uncomfortable feeling, when I’m trying to join a demonstration, because when many people walk one way I always want to walk the opposite way), I hate the feeling that something/somebody is trying to tell me what I should do and when I should (my drawings which I have often called ‘landscapes of people’ are first and foremost me kicking against such feelings, followed by the despair that the social system embeds in my outlook). However, I have also always despised unfairness; I have never been able to accept that some people have lavish lives, whilst some peoples’ lives consist of fruitless hardship, of worthlessness and lacking any hope. I can’t stand injustice in the world; it will always seem unnecessary to me. As much as I have always felt like an outsider, I am also affected by The Social (what I see when I walk through a town/city) more than anybody else I know; sad sights of trashed lives can cripple me for days.

There’s nothing I would want more at the moment than to see this societal sickness almost cured, to see an end to the abundance of misery and poverty around me, and to see an end to the system based on greed and selfishness that engenders this; to see people with genuine meaning and happiness in their lives, to not have to see the opposite; people blind drunk at 4pm on a weekday, or people frantically trying to finding meaning through consumerism. Maybe one should always keep in mind the ideal (of a world free of the nation state, capitalism and their corporate marriage, but also free as possible from hierarchy and poverty/oppression and human-made suffering), but if much of what constitutes the ideal is ever so far away from being realised, but something far less ideal, but still considerably better than the current predicament , and does look to be attainable at present, then I would still show my utter support for it – even if this did mean that citizens were still subordinated and infantilised to a certain degree. For example, I will still show my support for those wishing to (re)strengthen the welfare state and reduce inequality in Britain, even if this does mean a continuation of capitalism and unfairness in general. Whether this is even achievable now; it may be too late to do any bargaining with a system that has reached its zenith of madness.

The thing is can the machinery of capitalism (which is dumping the poor before it dumps the entire earth into the incinerator) truly be halted from driving us over a cliff edge, without the dismantling of the state also? This is where my utter confusion kicks in. Although I feel a sense of belonging in the hills of the West Riding of Yorkshire, because it’s the only home I’ve known, I am in no means a nationalist to the nation of England, or the remnants of its empire (Britain). But as much as I despise the unthinking loyalty to The Royal Family whipped up by the media when there’s a Royal an event, and feel alienate from aspects of what appear to be its national identity, being a subject of the state wouldn’t make me anywhere near as miserable and desperate if the problems in our society, caused by and large by the inequalities intrinsic to neoliberal capitalism, weren’t half as bad as they are.

Then sometimes always clinks in my mind: “it’s their world, it’s built in their image, and they own it. Don’t expect them to give you anything.”- By which I mean, ‘they’ – the elite of the corporate state complex. The philosopher Slavoj Zizek warns how, instead of seeing developing capitalist nations, such as China and India – where there is barely any democratic rights, obscene income gaps between rich and poor, and nothing much to prevent ruthless exploitation of workers – as ‘developing’ in the sense that they are going through what the European/American nations went through in the 19th/early 20th century, one should see the reverse: that our perceptions of capitalism being tied with democracy are false, and only reflect a very short period in our history, and instead of China and India becoming like us, the likelihood is that capitalism will make the European/American nations more like China and India. This prospect certainly does put the brakes on trying to make mainly law-abiding changes within the system

But then again, Zizek in his book Living In The End Times also seemed to be suggesting in his conclusion, that rather seeing one method of challenging the capitalist system as wrong and the other as right, and wasting time arguing over this, one should, if not use all methods themselves, at least support each different way of challenging it, either through subtraction, action, or peaceful bargaining. Basically to push and pull from every end. All actions that aim for something better should be supported, but without ever giving up on ones ideals. Which I suppose leads onto the idea that society is a constant flux, and one should never rest on a structure relating to set ideas; one should always be seeking for the ideal, with no the permanent end in sight from where surely society would become archaic an hierarchical (?).

I must admit that I am guilty of wishing for fixed-endings under our current predicament, both in my own life and the wider world, but this is often out of wishing for an ending to the anguish that I feel , the inability to be at ease within the world. And here I am not looking for an ideal; I am in flight from the ideal. But, even when I can’t feel that there can be a predicament better than this, logic still convinces me to support and agree with those who want better than this

So then, if the construction of the state is the first step of corporatism, abstracting our sense of identity and belonging and aligning it to an artificial construct, which lays the perfect base for capitalism to flourish, how do we halt the reckless dynamics that make the system if we can’t dismantle the state without fear of catastrophe, unimaginable suffering, the worst case scenario? I’m not sure to be honest, but the technology, the advances, we certainly can’t do without now. Capitalism has brought great material changes to our lives, I cannot dispute this. But it is easy to see now that it has reached its zenith of bringing better material benefits for most; and has thus descended into madness in the quest to maintain its legitimacy. Not to subtract from technology; its technological advances are to be kept, but not it; it can only do the reverse effect now. But how humanity could achieve this separation of technology from an utterly destructive system is something I don’t feel I have the ability to be assigned the job of racking my brains over, even though I do this, day after day after day after day, on my West Riding train travel circulatory, which is why I have to express my thoughts on thing, that I’m likely out of my depth with, on this inclusive blogosphere. I need to vent this somewhere.

Some minor venting

I haven’t been thinking too clearly of late. This might be a start, looking at examples of distractions that enhance this disorientation

I can hear the spectacle calling me from down stairs. Whooshes and explosions tempt me to be sucked into the dreamscape

When I walk past the television set downstairs around tea-time, as I attempt to quickly get a drink, not wanting to lose momentum from the work I am undertaking up in my room, there is often a film on, set to the typical action movie formula, which my father hasn’t so much decided to watch as become resigned to watching. After I have got that needed liquid, and I make my escape for the stairs back to the room where I’m working, I get caught by the action on the screen as if I’ve accosted.

Most ‘blockbuster’ action films (especially the recent re-makes) have but a skeletal amount of content, but have collosal heaps of spectacle; and it is at these moments that one (re)understands the almost-hypnotic power that spectacle (especially spectacle that has had millions spent on making it) has on people. It just draws you towards it like a light draws in a moth. It is seductive; you’re telling yourself to leave the room, to turn and make a dash, but it’s like the screen has hold of eyes from the sockets and his pulling them into a whirlpool.

Notorious for being empty of new ideas, Hollywood, which is the USA’S foremost propaganda machine (‘diffuse’ propaganda; to use Guy Debord’s word for describing the way that most so-called ‘democratic’ nations’ spectacle works), still shows us why the American way is still the most powerful; it’s seduction.

 

Facebook: the crowd in your lonely room

What I need to remember when I’ve got Facebook on whilst trying to do other things (things that rejuvenate my sense of self like making art, writing), and struggling to do so, is that Facebook is a crowd, even if it’s a non-physical one. One cannot think clearly when it’s on, when the blue and white rolling news channel of friendship is promising/or threatening (?) to put up the excitement-creating red cubes of communication in the top left corner on the screen. Although the crowd isn’t physical, and many members of the crowd may not even be present at certain moments, the potential of the presence of members of the crowd pulls the crowd mentality over us. Not a crowd mentality in the sense of an unthinking mob, but in the sense of the paranoia and self-consciousness, and the feeling that one should reply to everything said around their Zone/Facebook wall, like one often feels in a busy street or crowded room. This isn’t so great, regarding the places where we usually use Facebook: places like bedrooms, where one would previously have found only their mind at work; a place for reflection and clear thinking being encroached upon? But most of us Facebook users know it is so hard to leave this potential crowd! It makes us feel so lonely if we turn it off, or deactivate our online persona for a few days, even though we probably didn’t have this lonely feeling until it encroached upon our once completely solitary spaces. Its shouts have a spectacular effect, like the aforementioned films do, and they call us to back to the computer screen like the films call us downstairs to be subject to the TV (the dictator of the settee).

Elaboration in this will be needed at some point, I know! But I didn’t want to post it onto the place where 150 words fit more appropriately than this blog where I usually write in more detail: Facebook