Laing On Loneliness

I don’t believe the cure for loneliness is meeting someone, not necessarily. I think it’s about two things: learning how to befriend yourself and understanding that many of the things that seem to afflict us as individuals are in fact a result of larger forces of stigma and exclusion, which can and should be resisted.

Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective; it is a city. As to how to inhabit it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame, only to remember that the pursuit of individual happiness does not trump or excuse our obligations to each another. We are in this together, this accumulation of scars, this world of objects, this physical and temporary heaven that so often takes on the countenance of hell. What matters is kindness; what matters is solidarity. What matters is staying alert, staying open, because if we know anything from what has gone before us, it is that the time for feeling will not last. (Laing 2016, 281)

Laing, Olivia. 2016. The Lonely City: Adventures In The Art Of Being Alone. New York: Picador.

Hacks

“Technologies are constituted by unique affordances, but the development and expression of those affordances are shaped by the institutional logics in which technologies are designed, implemented, and used. This is, after all, the origin of the hack. Hacking intends to liberate affordances from the institutional logics in which they are frozen and redistribute them in alternative configurations for new purposes.” (Zuboff 2015, 85)

Zuboff, Shoshana. 2015. “Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization.” Journal of Information Technology 30: 75-89.

Tennessee Williams on Success

“Ask anyone who has experienced the kind of success I am talking about — What good is it? Perhaps to get an honest answer you will have to give him a shot of truth serum but the word he will finally groan is unprintable in genteel publications.

“Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive — that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. ‘In the time of your life — live!’ That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition” (Williams 1947, 104-105).

Williams, Tennessee. 1947. “The Catastrophe of Success.” In The Glass Menagerie, 99-105. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation.