Human-ities · Performativity

How to be alone together 

The search is on for a couple to train as astronauts, for a privately funded mission to Mars. But wouldn’t any couple squabble if cooped up together for 18 months? Explorer Deborah Shapiro, who spent more than a year with her husband in the Antarctic, provides some marital survival tips.

It never ceases to amaze us, but the most common question Rolf and I got after our winter-over, when we spent 15 months on the Antarctic Peninsula, nine of which were in total solitude, was: Why didn’t you two kill each other?

We found the question odd and even comical at first, because the thought of killing each other had never crossed our minds.

We’d answer glibly that because we relied on each other for survival, murder would be counter-productive.

Excerpt from an article on BBC. Continue HERE

Film/Video/New Media · Performativity · Sculpt/Install

THE ONANIZER: Your Ultimate Masturbation Experience

The Onanizer is the root of Onania. Designed to mould seamlessly to the user’s body, the ‘limitless pleasure’ machine invites its users to a realm of singular focus on themselves. Sophisticated advertising tricks are played on our atavistic compulsions of fulfilling basic instincts.The Onanizer reflects the ultimate aim of Onania, which is the most perfect and heightened existence of blissful solitude.

Via Jan Manski

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Theory

Solitude and Leadership: If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts

William Deresiewicz: My title must seem like a contradiction. What can solitude have to do with leadership? Solitude means being alone, and leadership necessitates the presence of others—the people you’re leading. When we think about leadership in American history we are likely to think of Washington, at the head of an army, or Lincoln, at the head of a nation, or King, at the head of a movement—people with multitudes behind them, looking to them for direction. And when we think of solitude, we are apt to think of Thoreau, a man alone in the woods, keeping a journal and communing with nature in silence.

Leadership is what you are here to learn—the qualities of character and mind that will make you fit to command a platoon, and beyond that, perhaps, a company, a battalion, or, if you leave the military, a corporation, a foundation, a department of government. Solitude is what you have the least of here, especially as plebes. You don’t even have privacy, the opportunity simply to be physically alone, never mind solitude, the ability to be alone with your thoughts. And yet I submit to you that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership. This lecture will be an attempt to explain why.

We need to begin by talking about what leadership really means. I just spent 10 years teaching at another institution that, like West Point, liked to talk a lot about leadership, Yale University. A school that some of you might have gone to had you not come here, that some of your friends might be going to. And if not Yale, then Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and so forth. These institutions, like West Point, also see their role as the training of leaders, constantly encourage their students, like West Point, to regard themselves as leaders among their peers and future leaders of society. Indeed, when we look around at the American elite, the people in charge of government, business, academia, and all our other major institutions—senators, judges, CEOs, college presidents, and so forth—we find that they come overwhelmingly either from the Ivy League and its peer institutions or from the service academies, especially West Point. Continue this essay HERE

The lecture below was delivered to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October 2009.