…he study’s conclusion solacing. Once you accepted that your character was immediately transparent, there was no pressure to keep up appearances. If I felt nervous about how I was coming off throughout the semester, she advised, I should remember that the students’ minds were already made up. They’d had me figured out before I’d placed my supplies on the desk the first day, and nothing I could do would change it. This is among the more deranged…

I remember the realization that, looking at the different people in my life, no amount of “flattering” or “unflattering” clothing meaningfully altered my ability to see the size of their body. This was hugely liberating. Who cares if stripes “make me look fat” if everyone can already see how fat I am (or am not)?

…ed, I cannot seem to change it. For the Greeks, character was fate. The command of the Delphic oracle—“Know thyself”—was not a mandate to plumb the soul but rather to accept the role that nature had assigned you, like an actor accepting a role in the theater. It’s not the kind of advice you hear very often in modern America, but fatalism, as my friend noted, has comforts of its own. When Virginia Woolf became cons…

My sense has always been that fate sets us each particular challenges we may rise to meet. These are not the challenges we would have chosen for ourselves; some aspirations are denied us, while other things are made easy that might otherwise have meant struggle. The actor’s role still has an arc.

…n recordings. But it’s not me.” Writing is no longer considered a technology, but in its early days, it, too, was criticized for distorting a person’s image. The problem, Socrates complains in Plato’s Phaedrus, is that consciousness dies the moment it hits the page. Ask the written words a question, and they will not answer. “They go on telling just the same thing forever.” * What we want is to see the se…

Cf. “early Kant” vs. “late Kant” or other such constructed figures.

…opinions (or so it’s believed). But what do they have to say about us? So little of it is revelatory. This product, the algorithms claim, was purchased by “people like you.” “Since you like dark indie comedies … ” The contemporary experience of …

I’ve always enjoyed the idea that the flattening aspects of algorithms of consumption put the lie to the capitalist idea that consumption can meaningfully define the individual qua individual.

(hmm, that sentence I’ve just written could be made more clear….”I’ve always enjoyed the idea that (the flattening aspects of (algorithms of consumption)) put the lie to (the capitalist idea that (consumption can meaningfully define (the individual qua individual))). “ maybe)

…ey keep saying the same things. Marshall McLuhan once pointed out that the myth of Narcissus is frequently misinterpreted. It is not love that causes the youth to stare at his image, but profound alienation. The point of the myth is that “men at once become fascinated by any extension of themselves in any material other than themselves.” Stare too long at the objectivized self and you will become the dead matter you behold. The alienation will eventually subside, and you will begin to identify so fully with the daimon that the interior self disappears. Several years ago, during a sea…

Bleak! Interesting! Good! Definitely deserves more evaluation in the digital context!!!