[iDC] Immaterial Labor and life beyond utility

Nicholas Ruiz III editor at intertheory.org
Sun Aug 12 20:20:46 UTC 2007

I appreciate the romance of this post; it is
utilitous, nonetheless...

If one chooses to romanticize and aestheticize
existence--this sentiment too, is utility pointed in a
certain direction, with a certain desire, for a
certain outcome...an appropriation of utility.

Even the dead are utilized...

To dwell on utility, however, would for many be among
the least satisfying of existences.  Then again,
financiers and market traders might disagree.


--- "Paul B. Hartzog" <paulbhartzog at gmail.com> wrote:

> After reading Sobol and Waxman, I thought I would
> chime in.  So far, I
> find this list incredibly useful to my own work and
> am really enjoying
> the discussions.  That said, I continue thus....
> First, utility is tautological.  If you decide that
> human beings do
> things only for utility, then you will always find
> the utility in any
> action.  Even suicide can be described as a
> utilitarian action.
> Second, the authentic, and to my mind
> non-utilitarian, experience of
> life, has and always will be, beyond theft or
> co-optation by "the bad
> guys."  When I go to coffee with my friend and
> discuss Aristotle,
> money goes to those it perhaps shouldn't (e.g. evil
> coffee bean
> slavers).  Nonetheless, the substance of the
> experience belongs
> entirely to me and my friend.
> My difficulty with the analysis so far in this
> thread is that I find
> it to be preoccupied with current online tools
> rather than abstract
> concepts.  An alternate attempt might go something
> like this:
> Suppose that every moment of your life were visible,
> capturable,
> collatable, analysable, (etc.) to others.  Suppose
> that EVERY act in
> your life, that YOU tried to live authentically, was
> also being used
> for other purposes by someone else.  How would you
> live?  The answer,
> possibly paradox, is that you would ignore it, and
> in so doing you
> would live in such a way that anyone who was
> watching would be
> incapable of seeing your true life at all.  They
> would only see your
> superficial movements, but all the while your inner
> movement would
> channel bliss.
> The authentic life is ALWAYS a subversion, a
> resistance, a revolution,
> against some attempt by someone else to bind it, to
> bound it, to
> define it, to constrain it.  To live authentically
> means to create in
> each moment something that cannot be taken and used
> for other purposes
> because it is necessarily INVISIBLE to those who
> would attempt such a
> theft.
> Consequently, in my own academic work (i.e.
> logically), and also in my
> personal preference (i.e. aesthetically), I prefer
> to keep my eyes
> turned towards new forms of subversion, resistance,
> and revolution
> enable by new technologies.  To my mind, the really
> interesting and
> revolutionary things going on in the world are
> invisible to those who
> would oppose them.
> Peace,
> -Paul
> http://www.PaulBHartzog.org
> http://www.panarchy.com
> PaulBHartzog at PaulBHartzog.org
> PaulBHartzog at panarchy.com
> PHartzog at umich.edu
> The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms.
>                  --Muriel Rukeyser
> See differently, then you will act differently.
>                  --Paul B. Hartzog
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Dr. Nicholas Ruiz III
Editor, Kritikos

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