The Politics of Daily life
February 6, 2012
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Ask a few questions here and there, but do it casually.
by Lydia Eccles
Think of your direct bodily experience of life.
No one can lie to you about that.
Do you hear insect sound of drones clickering keyboards
in a fluorescent hive of fabric-padded cubicles?
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a TV screen?
A computer screen? An automobile screen? All three screens
combined? Is software your supervisor?
And how many hours a day do you sleep?
How are you affected by sound?
How are you affected by light?
How are you affected by warmth and touch?
How are you affected by music?
Is a good record better than live music raw?
Is it simply sound you want? Or shared ritual magic?
How many of your rituals come at you through a glass, vicariously?
What are you being screened from?
Does it bother you if the windows don’t open,
and even your air is “conditioned”?
How about your degree and variety of body movement?
How do you feel in situations of enforced passivity?
How are you affected by a non-stop assault of symbolic
communication, audio, robotic voices video, print, billboard,
as you stumble through the forest of signs?
What are they urging upon you?
Do you need contemplation? Do you remember it?
Thinking from inside, rather than reacting to stimuli?
Is it hard to look away?
Is looking in the very thing that cannot be permitted?
How are you affected by being in crowds?
How much bodily space do you need?
Do you find yourself blocking
your empathetic responses to other humans?
Do you find yourself committing acts of symbolic violence?
How are you affected by the size of the room you’re in?
By living in two and three dimensional grids?
And by the visual space?
Do you need to see the sky? Water?
Foliage? Animals? Glinting, glimmering, moving?
(Is that why you have a pet, an aquarium, and fernplants?)
Or is video your glinting, glimmering, moving?
Who prepares your meals? Do you eat standing up?
Do you trust what you’re eating?
How are you affected by standardized time,
designed solely to synchronize your movements with those of
millions of others? How long do you ever go without knowing
what time it is? Who or what controls your minutes and hours?
The minutes and hours that add up to your life?
How are you affected by being moved around
without control, in elevators, subways, escalators, conveyor belts?
How are you affected by waiting?
Waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting to pee, waiting…learning
to discipline and punish your spontaneous urges?
How are you affected by being immobilized and scheduled
rather than wandering and roaming freely and spontaneously?
Can you use your hands creatively,
building making touching a variety of materials?
How are you affected by holding in your desires?
By sexual repression, by the delay or denial of pleasure,
starting in childhood, along with suppression of everything in you that
evidences your wild nature, your animal life?
Is pleasure dangerous? Is danger joy?
What are we deprived of by labor-saving devices?
And thought-saving devices?
How are you affected by the efficiency requirement that puts the
end product ahead of the process, that values only the future
and never the moment, the present moment that gets shorter
and shorter, as we try to speed to the future endpoint?
Are you saving time?
Are you lonely in a way that language can’t allay
or even express?
Do you sometimes feel yourself ready to