Landscape organizes everything within sight.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Zygmunt Bauman on the San Francisco dating scene

Ok, not really, he's actually writing about advanced capitalism.  But you'd never know:

What follows is that the assumed temporariness of partnerships tends to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If the human bond, like all other consumer objects, is not something to be worked out through protracted effort and occasional sacrifice, but something which one expects to bring satisfaction right away, instantaneously, at the moment of purchase – and something that one rejects if it does not satisfy, something to be kept and used only as long as (and no longer than) it continues to gratify – then there is not much point in ‘throwing good money after bad’, in trying hard and harder still, let alone in suffering discomfort and unease in order to save the partnership. 

Even a minor stumble may cause the partnership to fall and break down; trivial disagreements turn into bitter conflicts, slight frictions are taken for the signals of essential and irreparable incompatibility. 

As the American sociologist W. I. Thomas would have said, were he to witness this turn of affairs: if people assume their commitments to be temporary and until further notice, these commitments do tend to become such in consequence of these people’s own actions.

Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity, 2000, p 164. 

The bad news is that you probably can't escape being used for instant gratification, being treated to the irritability of friends and loved ones, being blown off for no reason at all.  The good news is that it isn't your fault.

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Anonymous barce said...

I've been grappling with this issue for quite some time. People brand themselves in MySpace. I am no exception, and people expect to be branded.

This is why I refuse to date, and have not done so since April.

Instead, I focus on my work, my Tuesday night philosophy group, and my family. I could be working in San Francisco right now, but there are too many distractions and corruptions of the soul there. I prefer to commute to the South Bay, where I can focus.

I think of the money that I've spent on dating, which averaged out to about $500 a month. It's the biggest waste of money ever.

The out seems to be a rejection of going out, a rejection of Friday nights, and focusing on your soul, your body, and those who care about you and are around you.

Thank you for publishing such a succinct quote.

6:59 PM  

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