Here’s a tiny confession. I’m bored.
What am I bored of? Everything. Blogs, books, music, art, business, ideas, politics, tweets, movies, science, math, technology … but more than that: the spirit of the age; the atmosphere of the time; the tendency of the now; the disposition of the here.
We’ve always got to be doing something. Always always always. Tapping, clicking, meeting, partying, exercising, networking, “friending.” Work hard, play hard, live hard. Improve. Gain. Benefit. Realize.
Hold on. Let me turn on crotchety Grandpa mode. Click.
Remember when cafés used to be full of people … thinking? Now I defy you to find one not full of people Tinder–Twitter–Facebook–App–of–the–nanosecond–ing … furiously … like true believers hunched over the glow of a spiritualized Eden they can never truly enter, which is precisely why they’re mesmerized by it. The chance at a perfect life, full of pleasure, the perfect partner, relationship, audience, job, secret, home, career — it’s a tap away. It’s something like a slot–machine of the human soul, this culture we’re building. The jackpot’s just another coin away … forever. Who wouldn’t be seduced by that?
Winners of a million followers, fans, friends, lovers, dollars … after all, a billion people tweeting, updating, flicking, swiping, tapping into the void a thousand times a minute can’t be wrong. Can they?
And therein lies the paradox of the bullshit machine. We do more than humans have ever done before. But we are not accomplishing much, and we are, it seems to me, becoming even less than that.
The more we do, the more passive we seem to become. Compliant. Complacent. As if we are merely going through the motions.
Why? We are something like apparitions today, juggling a multiplicity of selves through the noise. The “you” you are on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Tinder … wherever … at your day job, your night job, your hobby, your primary relationship, your friend–with–benefits, your incredibly astonishing range of extracurricular activities. But this hyperfragmentation of self gives rise to a kind of schizophrenia — conflicts, dissociations, tensions, dislocations, anxieties, paranoias, delusions. Our social wombs do not give birth to our true selves, the selves explosive with capability, possibility, wonder.
Tap tap tap. And yet. We are barely there. In our own lives, in the moments which we will one day look back on and ask ourselves … what were we thinking wasting our lives on things that didn’t matter at all?
The answer, of course, is that we weren’t thinking. Or feeling. We don’t have time to think anymore. Thinking is a superluxury. Feeling is an even bigger superluxury. In an era where decent food, water, education and healthcare are luxuries, thinking and feeling are activities too costly for society to allow. They are a drag on “growth” — a burden on “productivity” — they slow down the furious acceleration of the bullshit machine.
And so. Here we are. Going through the motions. The bullshit machine says the small is the great, the absence is the presence, the vicious is the noble and the lie is the truth. We believe it, and, greedily, it feeds on our belief. The more we feed it, the more insatiable it becomes. Until, at last, we are exhausted. By pretending to want the lives we think we should, instead of daring to live the lives we know we could.
Fuck it. Just admit it. You’re probably just as bored as I am.