Uselessness and Resistance

I especially like a gemlog from Alex, published in January, about the main critic Gemini has to face : its useless because it can't be improved to be as best as web http and so on. But Gemini goal is not to be a new web, to copy it. It aims to be strong by being minimalist, sort of a coming back to roots : write, publish and read.

From Alex's gemlog,


I want to quote a long extract of this long text from Jenny Odell's book :*How to Do Nothing* in which I underline some sentences.

Meanwhile, uselessness has been this tree’s strategy: “This is of great use to me. If I had been of some use, would I ever have grown this large?” The tree balks at the distinction between usefulness and worth, made by a man who only sees trees as potential timber: **“What’s the point of this—things condemning things? You a worthless man about to die—how do you know I’m a worthless tree?”** It’s easy for me to imagine these words being spoken by Old Survivor to the nineteenth-century loggers who casually passed it over, less than a century before we began realizing what we’d lost.

This formulation—the usefulness of uselessness—is typical of Zhuang Zhou, who often spoke in apparent contradictions and non sequiturs. But like his other statements, it’s not a paradox for the sake of being a paradox: rather, **it’s merely an observation of a social world that is itself a paradox, defined by hypocrisy, ignorance, ignorance, and illogic.** In a society like that, a man attempting a humble and ethical life would certainly appear “backward”: for him, good would be bad, up would be down, productivity would be destruction, and indeed, uselessness would be useful.

If you’ll allow me to stretch this metaphor, we could say that Old Survivor was too weird or too difficult to proceed easily toward the sawmill. In that way, the tree provides me with an image of “resistance-in-place.” **To resist in place is to make oneself into a shape that cannot so easily be appropriated by a capitalist value system. To do this means refusing the frame of reference: in this case, a frame of reference in which value is determined by productivity, the strength of one’s career, and individual entrepreneurship.** It means embracing and trying to inhabit somewhat fuzzier or blobbier ideas: of maintenance as productivity, of the importance of nonverbal communication, and of the mere experience of life as the highest goal. It means recognizing and celebrating a form of the self that changes over time, exceeds algorithmic description, and whose identity doesn’t always stop at the boundary of the individual. In an environment completely geared toward capitalist appropriation of even our smallest thoughts, doing this isn’t any less uncomfortable than wearing the wrong outfit to a place with a dress code. To remain in this state takes commitment, discipline, and will. Doing nothing is hard.

This idea of "resistance-in-place" echoes, for me, synchronously in today's post in untitled *Incarnation* (fr)

I see it like a path : you can wish to change something in your/the world (**thinking**) or you can choose to go further and to be the change you want to see in the/your world (**acting**). But like Schroedinger's cat, you, as **a human being**, could be in both states at the same time on several causes, with different kind of people. Human being is always evolving, so how is it possible for someone to really do nothing ?

🐣 gemini:// and resistance.gmi