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  • Writer's pictureShriya Malhotra

to the east

Multiple geographies should inform different knowledges and ways of knowing. Unfortunately, posthuman philosophy is both extremely Eurocentric and western biased.

Sadly when knowledge is appropriated by nationalism and or other power interests, it becomes hijackable. Anything can be appropriated. Power is hegemonic and it dictates not only economic and social interests but also the absurdity that drives behavior in politics and propaganda.

The differences in people's subjective experiences of time means that they elicit a lot of waiting. We all have different speeds, routes and trajectories. We all flow differently. Check out the delhi traffic. We are still reeling from a violent planning error made in 1947.

Making someone wait is a power imbalance. This act of waiting is also associated with sound and being on hold. I don't know why. It's as if, without sound, we don't understand that time has passed. It is as if we are idiots, or that the designers of technology think we are. Submissive idiots. But sound is also subjective as an experience: a unifier, and with the right decibels a repellant.

It's as if one person's bad idea gets scaled up and amplified for no apparently reason other than profit maximising.

For someone comforted by repetition, I am convinced that if I meet the person behind the voice of the network fail messages, I will give her the stink eye. Why are the identity and voices of virtual assistants female? Things to consider as we uncode biases. Like the "can I tap it" question about digital cards.

An inability to schedule isn't because someone does not know the time. Or is lazy. Or confused by time differences, or how to use apps. Do they want to converge with x person at the location as suggested? What is the opportunity cost of time spent with them? Will there be laughter? Will there be snacks and adventure and talking which makes you think and dream? If I will laugh, then the lure to discard my shyness and introversion is exponential. As an aside: laphing is a Tibetan delicacy I once mistook for a date.

I don't mean laugh at someone. I mean share bellyaches about the absurdity of life. Is it worth the tech fails to struggle against time to do this without giggling? Usually not. I now leave a majority of my interactions to random chance. It is far more interesting and I find that people like me who have rejected concepts and boundaries like official and national and scheduling are happier and less stressed.

Time is a game of tag. And there is a line in Finland, which sits at the intersection of three time zones. You can step into the past and the future at a line that has been shaped and designed by geopolitics. It feels strangely artificial and profound at the same time. Proficial. Basically by skipping and hopping around it-- you can be timeless without sitting in a machine. That's what I aspire for: the zero gravity equivalent of an elevator jump, in time. Life is way too short for anything else.

Many times the machines we think of as taking part in life, are just reducing human networks and interaction to mathematical efficiency and the profit motive. Many times technology and smart phones are a wag the dog of bigger, more devastating decisions or principles. My phone will not be my leash. I don't want to live at the helm of glitches or on a route towards aspirations of a non glitched life.


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