Self Control

Quote

‘What’s especially tragic about a mind that imagines itself as something separate, defensible, and capable of “efficiency” is not just that it results in a probably very boring (and bored) person; it’s that it’s based on a complete fallacy about the constitution of the self as something separate from others and from the world. Although I can understand it as the logical outcome of a very human craving for stability and categories, I also see this desire as, ironically, the intersection of many forces inside and outside this imagined “self”: fear of change, capitalist ideas of time and value, and an inability to accept mortality. It’s also about control, since if we recognise that what we experience as the self is completely bound to others, determined not by essential qualities but by relationships, then we must further relinquish the ideas of a controllable identity and of a neutral, apolitical existence . . . But whether we are the fluid product of our interactions with others is not our choice to make. The only choice is whether to recognise this reality or not.’

— Jenny Odell, How to Do Nothing

Resistance-in-place

Quote

‘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 communications, and of the mere experience of life as the highest goal. It means recognising and celebrating a form of self that changes over time, exceeds algorithmic description, and whose identity doesn’t always stop at the boundary of the individual.”

— Jenny Odell, How to Do Nothing