Once scavenged, we take habits on as beloved objects, as partners in the project of getting by, as ways of gaming the situation of making a life. I learned to think about this from Michael Eigen: you wake up, you see the world, it’s your eyes that are seeing that thing, you breathe, you sense your next breath. Those are your feet, your skin, your hands. You begin to read beyond the body. A singular world is there, it’s your partner, fixing in images the sense of continuity you carry around. Which is why loss is actually loss whatever else it is—even if it’s also a relief, a victory, an occasion for sentimental self-encountering, or a thud, almost nothing, as it is also the loss of a revitalization of sense that was bound to the image, which was itself just a stand-in for relation as such.
This is why deriving modes of attention and conceptualizing skills matters to me, you know. Once you see all objects as placeholders for the encounter with the world, as organizing the process of moving through the situation of the ordinary life, they become enigmas alongside of the ways they gain specificity through use, over time. You can rely on them and have curiosity about them, and not only be scared of the way you don’t understand them. The fact that a thing is an enigmatic relation means not that the thing is replaceable, because it isn’t: but it changes when it’s close to other things. Take a glimpse of this modernist phone I shot, for example.
Lauren Berlant writing about how her mother “died of femininity” on her site.