SELF-OPTIMIZATION


jerene-nov-2015-productivity-shuttersticl-700x420

We humans have a tendency to measure everything. For example, what matters for Business is profits and humans are worth only how productive they are, whatever that means.

The ad’s gimmick plays not only to the fantasy that our life force can be captured in some simple unidimensional measure and actively managed but also to the broader, more insidious notion that people should function like phones. The expectations we have for our devices saturate our expectations of others (whether they are friends, family, service workers, or robots) and ultimately ourselves. We should be capable of handling any task we’re hired for, moving seamlessly from one interface to the next, from one application to another, for as long as required. If we can’t, we need to “recharge” ourselves: to find the right drug combination or exercise regimen, or else to sit ourselves out for precisely as long as we need to get back to 100 percent. The idea that we are anything other than self-sufficient and energy independent is suspended for a fantasy of instrumental control.

The complete article

Real Life

Image source

Having slow phones may come to be seen as a form of disability


mobile-phones-slow

With the slower phone, I felt the same sense of personal failure and frustration as I do when, at my library job, I have to get down on my knees to shelve a book that someone else could replace with a glance and a slight lean. Except with the slower phone, I could fix the problem, for a price I could afford.

The complete article

Olivia Rosane — Real Life

Image source

How real should representations of suicide be?


slidehome3

A serious reflection on suicide. A tough topic to read about, but nevertheless an important one.

Thinking of my family’s predicament, I am reminded of what Siddhartha Mukherjee, a Bengali man like me, wrote for the New Yorker in March in his gorgeous frankenstein of personal essay and scientific reportage, “Runs in the Family”: “Madness has been among the Mukherjees for generations … and at least part of my father’s reluctance to accept [his nephew’s] diagnosis lies in a grim suspicion that something of the illness may be buried, like toxic waste, in himself.”

The complete article

Mayukh Sen — Real Life

Image source