Gedankenspiel II: The iPhone

September 18, 2012

How ephemeral is that which we type with our thumbs?

And if it’s so ephemeral, why do we commit so many moments of our limited lives to entering such text?

Importance itself, so it seems, has been awarded too much importance.

Ever wonder how, for example, Coca-Cola possesses so much clout in the world? Remember that their chief product is a sugary beverage that contributes little to human well-being and much to tooth decay and diabetes.

Coca-Cola gained its power by cornering the market on triviality.

Or in other words: in a system that privileges exchange-value, the winners are those who maximize this aspect of their product regardless of its use-value. Expenditures that might’ve been made to increase a trivial product’s use-value to the broadest possible demographic (I.e. making Coke products healthier) instead endeavor to increase the exchange-value in the minds of the target demographic. Triviality itself – the communication of Coke as a leisure product – becomes an asset in maintaining this exchange-value. And so the trivial takes on the thickness of hardened clay, a coldness worthy of finance capital’s indifferent gaze.

The heavy attention traffic flowing through the weightless center confers upon it the illusion of weight. Partaking in this illusion activates us, stimulates our social and sensorial instincts. We drink our Coca-Cola, tap out our messages with our thumbs, post on Facebook, precisely because the stakes on such activities have been set so low for us. The paradoxical effect of our involvement actually investing these trivial products with meaning does not become visible at the moment of contact, but only afterwards as metrics.

One spends 2 hours a day “on” Facebook.

One drinks 2-3 Cokes per week.

One taps out a single message on an iPhone over the course of 45 minutes.

Numbers heavy as lead, for an activity light as air.

Sent from my iPhone

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