Crary’s 24/7 makes me want to live in the woods. It makes me want to escape to a place untouched by technology, to a place where there is no Internet or Netflix (gasp!), to a place where, if I want to play Solitaire, I’ll need an actual deck of cards. But, for now, I will continue to live in this buzzing city, will continue to attend graduate school, will continue to participate in society.
While I agree with many that Crary has done little to suggest any actual remedies to the problems facing our contemporary, capitalist society, I am quite enthralled with the solutions he does suggest, because as far as I can tell, those solutions entail doing nothing much at all. How intriguing!
In particular, I have been thinking a lot about the notion of the everyday, a notion that Crary describes as “the vague constellation of spaces and times outside what was organized and institutionalized around work, conformity, and consumerism” (70). Not too long ago, the everyday was a relatively fixed part of life. Now, of course, it’s nearly impossible to detach from the constant onslaught of technologized manipulation that we encounter on our portable devices and in our television sets. In fact, corporations and political entities do their best to suppress the remnants of the everyday, to eradicate the time spent on individuated decision-making and unmediated introspection (40).
If there is one suggestion that I can take away from Crary’s text, it is that the individual must take great care to preserve those fragmentary moments of the quotidian, to maintain the private (for now) experience of internal contemplation and reflection, and, of course, to continue to enjoy the phenomenon of sleep. For these moments of temporary disconnection allow us to be human, to just be, to experience the limitations of our humanity. Furthermore, the everyday, while seemingly innocuous, is, at its root, rebellious, because it implies a momentary withdrawal from society, from consumerism. In fact, the everyday can be seen as downright dangerous because of its uneventfulness—it is “both unconcealed and unperceived;” it is beyond the gaze of the empowered (70).
I’m going to try to turn over a new leaf. I’m going to try to relish in moments of the quotidian, to put down my goddamned phone when I’m waiting in line at the post office. I’m going to try to just sit and think, like I used to as a kid, instead of letting my phone do the thinking for me.
Of course, there are limitations to this humble form of rebellion. Like the escapism that I considered in the beginning of my post, the preservation of the everyday really only works on the level of the individual. But isn’t that what’s so great about it? That only you can experience it, and that it doesn’t need a hash tag slapped on it in order for it to count? I think so. I’m going to close my laptop now and am going to sit and watch the snowflakes fall.