EROFT: Meditation 1
I’ll be the first to say that my ritual is rather…boring.
But if there’s anything I learned during my time in anthropology, it’s the things we find the most mundane that tell us the most about our value systems and structures of meaning.
So with that being said, I thought about a ritual I practice everyday with my laptop – that is, the ritual checking of my email and facebook before I do anything else. Pretty much without fail, if I open up an internet browser I first check my email and then I’ll check facebook…and then I might check my email again…and maybe go back to facebook.
Being in grad school, this mostly feels like a procrastination tactic. But I know it’s intended to be a way for me to quickly check in on the state of things before I move on with my day. I feel compelled to quickly check in and see if I missed out on anything and once I feel sated, I move on with my day (or until like, 5 minutes later when I see if I missed anything new).
Of course, part of this is the dopamine from notifications, mentions, etc. I think it also has to do with the constant re-ifiction and re-establishment of our place on earth. To borrow from Althusser, when we are called we come into (political) being. As Wendy Chun would say, “to update is to remain the same.” So every time we receive an email or get a facebook notification we can be reminded of our continued presence. Our materiality. Perhaps our own mortality…
So, I decided to automate this process using a very magical process known as headless or phantom browsing. Using a selenium webdriver, I wrote a python program that opens the browser, logs me into gmail and scrolls, then goes to facebook and scrolls. Then based on a random number it goes between the sites a few more times.