Tag: Becoming Who We Are

An interesting formulation from Eva Illouz in Why Love Hurts. I’m certainly a ‘sobered modernist’ in this sense. From loc 375-393: While my analysis of love in the conditions of modernity is critical , it is critical from the standpoint of a sobered modernist perspective: that is, a perspective which recognizes that while Western modernity […]

Notes for a talk next week My concern in this short talk is not to diagnose the underlying conditions which generate an acceleration of social life, or indeed the various experiences which differently placed actors have of such acceleration. Instead, I’m interested in the novel and deeply reflexive cultural forms arising under these conditions, as what […]

Notes for my talk for the Reflexivity Forum at Warwick on May 24th What does it mean to be distracted? For the last year, I’ve been telling people that I’m working on a new project about digital distraction and everyone seems to immediately grasp what I mean by this. But conceptualising precisely what we should […]

From the Commencement address Steve Jobs gave on June 12, 2005: When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have […]

I’m very interested in this concept, which I was introduced to through the work of Pierpaolo Donati and Andrea Maccarini earlier this year. It emerged from the work of Arnold Gehlen and refers to the role of human institutions in unburdening us from existential demands. This is quoted from his Human Beings and Institutions on pg 257 […]

From The Refusal of Work, by David Frayne, pg 199: What do you do? After ‘What is your name?’ and possibly ‘Where are you from?’ this is one of the first questions that strangers usually pose to one another, with convention dictating that this question is almost always an enquiry into our employment situation. ‘What […]

A great introduction to this concept I was previously unfamiliar with, from David Frayne’s Refusal of Work, pg 149: As Bruce described his self-care habits, I was reminded of Gorz’s definition of ‘hygiene’, which for Gorz means something much more than the mundane rituals of preening and cleanliness. For Gorz, hygiene consists in a more […]

A remarkable passage by the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips at the end of his Forbidden Pleasures, pg 181. We have to choose between them: the stark nature of the dichotomy is often unclear but this is little more than wilful obsfucation, on the part of the social order if not the individual. To give up on hope […]

This idea from Daniel Little really chimes with what I’m arguing in my chapter for the 5th CSO book. Life planning as blueprint is becoming ever less sustainable as the continuity of a subject’s context becomes ever less assured. This disrupts instrumental rationality because contextual assumptions about means become unreliable, while social and cultural change also throws up […]

I’m currently reading Vincent Deary’s How We Are. It’s the first book in a planned trilogy exploring how people change. For the last few months I’ve had a vague idea that at some point I’d like to develop themes from my PhD into a book for a wider audience. My project sought to develop a framework for studying the […]