Sunday, March 18, 2018


Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the sea of fog.jpg

- What's on your mind?
- Producing and communicating. Buying and selling. Messages sent and received. I almost never look at social media, don't use the telephone. I use email: I've given some thought as to how. In conversation there is no interval between sending and receiving: as you speak you are heard. But send any kind of message there is a delay. Thinking alone, or making up a story, words are simultaneously heard by an ideal listener, and we come out from delay full circle: conversation, message, imagination. So much for delay in communication. What about delay with regard to production?
- You tell me.
- I was thinking of the waiting and the repetition of agriculture compared to the life of wandering. When I receive an email I treat it as conversation. I reply immediately, not stopping even to correct typographical errors. If I delay I start imagining how the few words I set down make me appear. In our times of everything bought and sold, production is unending and compulsive. Possible messages are sifted through as land is farmed. More land, more crops, more security. Delaying my answer to a message, I start to imagine how my words will be received. The longer I delay, the more alternatives I consider, each tied to my guess what image of myself these pictures in miniature will produce, and how much better some images are than others, which will be more effective in getting what I want from the communication.
- You're farming images of yourself.
- Yes. As products are sold by associating them with communications about the kind of life you'll have if you acquire them; communications are repetitively produced, farmed as products. My choice between images is a kind of consumption; finally I buy into one image and send it on. The same repetitive, acquisitive consideration is part of what holds people absorbed in social media; the same mix-up of producing, consuming, and communicating. This completely unlike the movements of a wanderer, appropriate to place, not repetitive, meeting with no delay.
- And your conclusions? Any message to the planet?
- Don't listen to advertisers' repeated associations of their products with appearances of secure lives, don't produce apparently secure images of yourself by admitting delay into your conversation.

Further Reading:
Abel Is More Able
Leaders Who Betray