Thursday, August 25, 2011

on becoming a monster

I've spent some time this morning looking back over notes I wrote this summer on phenomenology and embodiment, in a typescript and in a bound notebook I keep as a kind of commonplace book.

In my book, I reserve the last two or three pages to list things I want to look into - there's a list of phrases, titles, or potential lines in a song or poem; there's a list of music, books, and other media stuff to look into. It's a long list, and I was surprised this morning to realize how much of it I had consumed this summer, and really, over the last couple of years.

And "consume" is the appropriate verb, I think - not in the Baudrillardian or "consumer society" sense, but in the sense of using and eating. I am consuming books and music at an especially alarming rate. I don't mean I'm in danger of using them up - one of the basic operating principles of consumer society is that the production of consummables must always be so excessive that consumption becomes an end in itself and continues without let or hindrance, so there's no worry we'll run out of stuff to consume.

I'm concerned about what it means about and for me. I am concerned that I am consuming far too much, and that my consumption of all these things - books, ideas, music - now threatens to make me monstrous. What if I become an eating machine that feeds on all this? That can't be good for me, or for the world, can it?

1 comment:

Lavi said...

I'm sure the producers would be happy about such an avid consumer as yourself. Your dilemma is interesting. I'd have to say that you shouldn't worry about overconsuming literature and music as long as you take the best of it all.