it’s a massive complicating variable for anybody trying to do work on themselves and in so doing engage with the world that lies beyond their immediate experiences that they are doing so in medias res of an era of mass surveillance…
we have stopped caring so much about the surveillance itself. actually i should probably go further: we *participate* in the surveillance ourselves, we are complicit in creating a culture of mutual surveillance.
so we have stopped caring so much about the surveillance itself but instead — have become completely fixated on the optics of our surveilled appearances. the way we tend to our visual garden betrays a kind of self-conscious fear that is also bound up in the eternal desire to be liked.
(i feel comfortable using the inclusive/presumptive pronoun “we” because i mean, you’re reading this, but if you disidentify please don’t take this as anything but rhetorical overreach while i wrestle with shit)
fear always inhibits learning, and in no area is that learning more difficult than the brutal, ego-crushing kind of learning that is essential to self-knowledge.
i want to be optimistic about this and i think the creek that runs out to real change has to be continually eroding fear. some fear is practical and will protect you from actual physical and psychological harm, but there is usually a surplus, and we can always self-subvertingly massage that surplus into actual harm too, both consciously and reflexively.
developing a sense of imperviousness - but not deafness - to public criticism or embarrassment or shame seems like a pretty handy monkey wrench to have onsite. if someone thinks you are a bad or lame or talentless or ugly person, that will not end your life. it might even teach you something. if you are embarrassed in public, your ability to eat is usually still ok (depends on your job though i guess). but those truisms don’t make it any less limb-crumpling or smile-wiping when this sort of shit happens, and i guess not giving a fuck is a lot to expect of anyone - even ourselves. so recognizing how powerful these particular fears can be and the different stages people are at in grappling with them should make us feel compassion rather than bilious righteousness when we pass our search lights over them.
some things are things i am going to just want to keep to myself. but the space where i can keep those ‘private’ things is becoming increasingly difficult to circumscribe. someday it might not exist at all.
allowing yourself to be reviled is a kind of freedom. it doesn’t justify or lend any credence to that bile - in fact, quite the opposite, it invalidates bile: it hobbles its capacity to wreak emotional havoc on at least one person.
survival is going to be my proof of concept.