How Might One Live?

I figure, for my last post, made on the final day of the semester, a relevant question (going back to the first question we were asked this semester) is how might one live?  It would seem difficult in our society to escape the many striations and power relations that societal structures externally impose upon us at every turn.  After reading Deleuze, Foucault, Nietszche, Hume, and so many other great thinkers, I initially was discouraged, as it seemed rather difficult to extricate one’s self from the many shackles society imposes upon us.  Especially after reading Foucault.  At the same time, however, I am filled with hope, because from what we’ve been reading, it seems that we are all on the right path(s) towards thinking and living outside the hegemonic box, so to speak.  In fact, much of our generation seems to be embracing this supremely important question, whether they are conscious of it or not.  The question becomes even more important in the light of the exponential technological advancements going on in our society.  As an example, why do people react against language changing through text messaging, the internet, and other new methods of communication?  Is this not a deterretorialization of the linguistic codes which have reinforced false consciousness, and restricted independent/new thought for thousands of years?  Is this not the very breakdown of structures that Deleuze discusses in so many essays?

Is the immediacy of our culture and it’s desires ultimately a positive and/or negative thing?  Have people not become in some way more connected and even closer because of this immediacy?  Perhaps some people’s desire for immediacy will hold them and subsequently humanity back, but the ones who capitalize on it will bring our world closer to a new way of living.  In fact, are we not in a constant changing process of living throughout our entire lives?  Is there no way to rightly live except the way that works for you?  The readings would suggest that escaping the hegemony of our culture and it’s institutions (especially religious ones enforcing a transcendent concept of existence) would be the right way to live, but what begins as a sub- or counter-culture eventually becomes mainstream culture, and the same is true for thought.  This class has completely opened my eyes to the world, and I am sure I am a different person/process than I was 4 months ago, but perhaps there is no right way to live other than what makes you happy and/or what helps us as humanity forward.  While I have begun shedding my anthropocentric view of the universe, the question of how we as people might live is still supremely important.  But so many people in our world have begun thinking less and less about themselves, I cannot help but think that perhaps we are beginning to live in a new way in our world.  People will always be striated by society, will always be limited by power relations, will always succumb to hegemony, but people will also always react against that, will always live and think nomadically, and will always be becoming different and new.

In the past 6 months, I’ve quit my job, left my apartment, and begun to literally become nomadic, freelancing wherever I can make a living.  I am splitting my time between New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.  It is extremely difficult.  I, like most people, am a creature of habit, I ritualize the world so as to assimilate and control it, but this is impossible in my life now.  I am very used to having my own place, my own space, within which I repeat and repeat and repeat ad infinitum.  What I’ve noticed is that although I am not always sure where I’ll be staying each night, each day is a new adventure, and each day feels longer and more eventful.  Time has been slowing down slightly for me; these past 4 months have been the longest months for me in a long while, because through  ritualization, assimilation, repetition and control, time and our lives seem to slip by quicker and quicker.  Now, when I wake up, I am faced with something new almost every day, and the times that I stay in one place for too long become constraining.  I have a ways to go before I am able to really become truly nomadic and to take full advantage of this lifestyle.  I question whether or not we as humanity had it right 10 thousand years ago when we were hunter gatherers, or if we needed to create society to once again return to a nomadic life.  I am not proposing that you all do the same, but rather, that we find ways to think and perhaps live in the moment as the hunter gatherers were forced to, and that we embrace each day as an adventure and chance to become something new.

May, Todd. Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005. Print. p. 1-25

Jeff

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