“As the shared world we have falls and brakes, as we have less to share in, we all want to build our own little world where we can curate something that brings us joy. This is a privilege that the privileged indulge in. For those who can’t build a mansion or a paradise, they escape into phones and television and drink and desperation. The gifts that capitalism gives out get smaller, the little worlds it gives us to exist in shrinking both in their scale and actual pleasure, but expanding in their ability to manipulate and stimulate. So we keep building, building these little worlds, being little kings and queens of our little dominions. And allowing others too tear apart that which we should have owned all along.”
Martina Bon Dolenca
So many of us build. We buy our stuff. We buy the hot new things. If it is some Xbox games console that’ll make the nights your buddies come round even better, if it is some Finsa DIY kitchen that will make all your dinner parties fly of with more glamour than ever before. But don’t. It’s your responsibility not to divest from the bigger world, stay present, stay participating, because some people cannot escape it, and they need your help.
‘Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains’
An oft misunderstood line, the chains are not the chains of an oppressive fascistic force of government that should be destroyed, but simply the limitations placed upon our freedom of action by the existence of other people. The human situation is on of shared social existence. When we exist amongst others we must take those other into account when we act. We must take them into account, morally, but also simply cannot avoid having our actions limited and formed by their existence, practically. There are more people on this earth now than there has ever been, this all came crashing home to me when rolling around trying to find some car parking at the airport in Liverpool. It was very difficult to park at the airport, just as it was very difficult to walk around at the airport, just as it was very difficult to get on the plane at the airport, because of all the people at the airport. These crowds, and the difficulty they bring us, are Rousseau’s chains. Each and everyone of them. These chains are a fact of life, or at least they should be. The hight in privilege now is an escape from these fair chains. For a price, you can upgrade to 1st class. For a price, you can get in the fast track queue. For a price, you can shed the chains of your fellow humans. It has forever been the dream of the ruling classes. It is desperate and wrong.