Inaugural post. The title of this blog dovetails rather neatly I think – both in a semantic and syntactic sense – with Dan O’Bannon’s The Long Tomorrow (drawn by French artist Moebius), which as some may know was an inspiration for Scott Ridley’s 1982 classic, Blade Runner.
But, more to the point, here’s something from C. Nadia Seremetakis’ The Senses Still: Perception and Memory as Material Culture in Modernity (phew, that’s a mouthful …):
Everyday life is experienced as a seamless continuum, an ongoing flow of ahistorical time, i.e., largely unnarrated temporality that surpasses individual and collective consciousness and language.
Braudel popularized the notion of the longue duree which functions in his histories almost as a historical unconscious. The longue duree is constituted by the protracted economic, ecological, biological processes and anonymous social practices of daily life that elude intentionality and conscious experience and which invisibly deliver social orders to unavoidable historical junctures and consequences. The longue duree is both an analytic tool and an empirical description of historical experience in everyday life. As such it is also a passageway into the social unconscious and the historical structure of inattention. The longue duree may have been Braudel’s symptomatic response, at the level of theory, to the anonymity, immensity and complexity of everyday experience in modernity … The longue duree permeates all historical experience with an amorphous determinism that hinders any account of how it is replicated in time and space, particularly at the level of personal practice and experience and socially constructed inattention.
Now I’ll be the first to admit I’ve only ever flipped through Braudel, and pretty quickly at that, but Serematakis’ deployment of the longue duree as a theoretical construct of “amorphous determinism” inscribed into the experience of the historical unconscious – i.e. the realm of the everyday, the prosaic, and the quotidian, the unnarrated and often unnarratable residue beyond public memory – sounds like a commensensical description, at least to me. Which provides a jumping-off point for this blog. Right now I’m looking at several months (at least) of relative leisure back home on the sunny isle of Singapura, and as any local can tell you, boredom, or “socially constructed inattention”, is a big part of daily life in the Lion City. Is it the overwhelming mugginess ? The political disengagement ? The general air of consumerist-driven apathy ? I’m taking votes …
In any case, I’m guessing this is going to be my outlet for the time being, both an articulation of the random flotsam and jetsam of la longue duree and an indexical symptom of the monotonous continuum – i.e. a “space of social amnesia and anaesthesia” (more Seremetakis).
What do the bored do ? They blog.
One last quote, from the redoubtable Walter Benjamin: “Boredom is a warm gray fabric lined on the inside with the most lustrous and colorful of silks. In this fabric we wrap ourselves when we dream. We are at home then in the arabesques of its lining.” (From The Arcades Project)
And on we dream …
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