Published on [Permalink]
Posted in:

The Luddite comic I posted a few days ago mentioned a couple of movements I hadn’t heard of before so I followed it up by watching a couple of videos. Actually, a few seconds of a couple of videos, because it quickly became apparent that the videos were part of yet another trendy lifestyle. “I tried slow living for thirty days and it changed my life.” More would-be influencers with clickbait titles trying way too hard.

But, listen, I get it. It’s easy for me to mock these folks because their style is most definitely not my own. But underneath that style? I get it.

We’re all so damned self-conscious. So many of us are trying to live authentic lives (whatever the hell that means) but the best we can do is define ourselves against the regnant culture and slap together practices wistfully imitating lifeways that have been destroyed by … well, pick your destructive system. There’s a lifestyle trend available for opposing whatever you hate.

It’s the self-consciousness that gets me. Maybe we’d be better off without it. Maybe it’s what the Adam and Eve story is about. Maybe it’s our “happy fault.” I just don’t know. There are times when I envy the apparent mental freedom of wild animals; their lives may be short but at least they don’t blog.

Consciousness feels like an unbridgeable gap. Are Buddhism and Taoism not pointing to the abandonment of self-consciousness as the solution to our suffering? What is ultimate human happiness in Christianity but the beatific vision, the abandonment of self-consciousness in union with God All-in-All? And what are we dirt worshippers looking for if not a rapprochement with the nonhuman world and a more “animal” existence?

Aren’t we all just wishing for our long-lost, unselfconscious primate existence on the African savannah? Who knows. Anyway, it’s going to be a nice weekend and I have work to do.

✍️ Reply by email

✴️ Also on