Where attention goes, the soul lives


Sputterings of melancholy and nostalgia. Time escapes from us in strange ways, excusing itself like a guest at the party, never really saying goodbye, shutting the door before you can say goodnight; in the hyper-fragmented time of the screen, time is a kind of ghost, a hallucination in which you sense that something has happened—that your material, embodied life has continued on without you.

The array of messages and platforms assault and confuse the mindspace, which already has its own inborn voices and perspectives—its own warring hemispheres. We strive retroactively to make meanings out of scatterings, to fuse hurried improvisations into music.

What does the light at the back of the mind have to say about the fireworks display at the front? Does it wonder why there has to be so much artificial illumination?

Early June. X and I listen to Schubert by candlelight. Her last night in New York. The moment lasts maybe 25 minutes—the moment of reverie. Reveries—unfucked by signals and distractions—like that become rarer and rarer: more easily broken, chopped up, frozen for reheating later.

Tokens of others are touching because they plunge us back into the wholeness of our fragmentary lives.

So much of what we call personality is a scar, a protective sheath, over the organism, the inference engine; so much of what we Moderns call ourselves is just a trope for this tendency to maintain homeostasis.

Anxiety is truly the homeland of the digitized 21st century—in the same way language was the homeland of the chaotic and displaced 20th century, the century of vast diasporas.

Homelands become more diffuse with each century: the displacement grows wider and wider, broader and broader—from family to village to town to city to nation to language to global network to… ?

As total information increases, total potential meaning decreases.

Much of our cultural emphasis on self-transformation—emphasis on the word trans—is a response to a void of meaning in the social space and a loss of feeling inside the physical body. Selves simply have to be manufactured and trained—through images, through chemicals, through surgery, through severe exercise—to compensate for the loss of Being.