In Technocratic Modernity, Habit Forms You

Habits. The bad ones seem to arrive suddenly like intruders in the night, until you begin to notice the signs of their presence dating back to before even so much as a suspicion stirred within. The good ones are trophies that didn’t come without a hard fight, but more like degree certificates than second place at regionals. The bad ones are the behavioral equivalent to Frankenstein’s monster.

It seems to me that most people find it more manageable to enact a strategy of self-indoctrination than reduction, intentionally attempting to cultivate helpful habits rather than actively prevent negative ones. It seems there is a resting (and rather unexamined) belief that if good habits occupy a certain portion of our conscious lives then we will have created an inhospitable environment for unhelpful habits to form, like antibodies. There are obviously cases where this is true, but generally speaking you are not a secure system no matter what you do. We’re far too complicated and too mortal for that matter, but especially in our minds which are forever an open system, even in quarantine.

Take, for instance, visualization. Any spiritual practitioner is aware of the vast improvements to this skill that comes over time, but what happens when this skill is plugged directly into constant thoughts of maintaining physical barriers and caution around all humans at all times? Reinforcing an imaginal bubble will put you in a cognitive one. What happens when the impulse to hug a friend is inextricably linked, through time and conditioning, with a guilt response? Are you comfortable with hugs meaning heresy? A failure to follow the cognitive and emotional consequences down to the depths of their seriousness is undoubtedly a side effect of materialist thinking. In official reality, the interiority doesn’t matter until it’s so unhealthy that it’s directly influencing the exterior world, typically though violence or dissent. The internal conditions that create these states are ignored or brushed aside, marginalized until they demand attention. Why? Because they’re invisible.

Yes, we’re apparently toddlers.

Each cognitive experience we have shapes us. We are a result of our lives, at least more so than the other way around, and even with the good habits in place we are being asked to intentionally create some very very bad ones at this time as a matter of civic duty. If not, you’re letting the whole world down and potentially a threat to the state. Yes, these bad habits are going to save some lives, but distance from other humans on a long enough timeline would be a conscious decision by the human species to put safety above literally everything else that defines us, safety that is entirely illusory from the start. This judgement call places the loss of human life as the worst possible fate imaginable. Death, the first and absolutely most natural requirement of life, is viewed en-mass by our society as the worst thing that can happen. Not the loss of our humanity.

This all stinks so heavily of a collective festering unattended fear of death that I’m worried it’s going to frighten the children. The problem is that the lack of peace made with an inevitable end causes all kinds of strange psychic and metaphysical phenomena to manifest in the intense avoidance thereof. These complexes are now being collectively shoved down our throats as we’re declared traitors if we don’t sing along.

You’re going to die. If you’re comfortable with that, then you have my sincere and total thanks. Perhaps trying to talk to others about death in a non-covid context could open doors to helpful discussions. Perhaps not. But isn’t it worth gently trying? Just remember the operative word there is “gently.” I’m also open to ideas here. Pease, by all means, leave us your thoughts. Donate a feeling in the comments section. No wrong answers, folks. Do you have any ani-SD tech to share with the class?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I just don’t give two fucks about living in a world without hugs. I’m playing along though, humming and cursing under my mask and reminding myself that there are a great many fates worse than death.

Hang in there and beware the mindfulness you’re not as mindful of.

Art by Heintje

2 thoughts on “In Technocratic Modernity, Habit Forms You”

  1. I agree with you and these are thoughts are I often keep mostly to myself or within closed circles. We are so afraid of death because in many ways death has been sanitized, everything from the moment of death to the funerary preparations. And then there is the big industry of keeping us young, keeping us away from old age and death, the stigma around growing old, and I could go on. Because death is bad, it is something to be avoided until it is unavoidable. So we don’t confront it and instead let our fears surrounding one of the most inevitable part of our lives fester. This is one of the components/factors that allows for these reactions among populations to happen. Coupled with a bunch of other things as well of course.

  2. Thanks for writing this, and yeah this moment is a great reconditioning for much of the population, which will have to be retrained. A twisted relationship with death is a huge part of it. If you haven’t already, i highly recommend you watch episode 7 (?) & 8 of midnight gospel when you have a chance… It does a really good job going over our alienation with the death process.

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