Despite having to write, on command, a blistering set of formal explications to unanticipated dilemmas over the past three days—all in order to provide a material record that will allow me to be evaluated at this, my final point of contact with the undergraduate system—I find myself remarkably well disposed. Looking back on the last four years I have to say three things: it wasn’t so bad; I did quite well; and goddamn if I didn’t work it all out successfully into prospects for the future.
Not so bad for a late bloomer.
But you know how shameless I am in the presence of anything that calls itself an idea. The idea is time. Living in the future. Look at those numbers running. Money makes time. It used to be the other way around. Clock time accelerated the rise of capitalism. People stopped thinking about eternity. They began to concentrate on hours, measurable hours, man hours, using labour more efficiently.
♦ Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
“Shameless” is a good call. I think many of us lose our sense of propriety when it comes jumping at the chance to inhabit tomorrow; to exploit the concept; to make the best of the continuum purportedly so soon available to us. It is the fact of life that coaxes us forward. The merciless exigencies of capital force a certain speed: the spectre of falling behind is always haunting us, the fear of missing the boat. Harvesting every screed of the moment, spending it “efficiently,” becomes our conscience, a relentless task-master seeking to circumscribe our actions even as it drives us to comply. To make the best of our present, it sometimes feels like we must accept the judgement of an unremitting and disembodied third-person, one constituted by an inanimate mechanism that we use to interface with the shape of our lives. Unabashedly we focus on a prize that can never, definitively, materialize. We can only remain current by projecting into the future.