connectedness   233

« earlier    

Letter of Recommendation: Ghosting - The New York Times
"In my father’s house, my stepmother cooks dinner. First she sweats the onions, then she sears the meat. On special occasions, she mixes dough with flour ground from enset, a plant that resembles the banana tree.

Enset has roots that are white, and when they’re ground into powder, it’s packed into little baggies. When my father travels to Ethiopia, he returns with these white baggies tucked into the pockets of his suitcase, which is one reason, among many, that it is difficult for him to cross the border and come home.

A few years ago, he began to disappear. First he skipped the onions, then he skipped the meat. Eventually he skipped the special occasions, and when he arrived home, after the baptism or graduation or wedding had long since ended, he had no desire to eat. When I asked him to explain his absences, he said, ‘‘Yes.’’ When I asked him where he kept disappearing off to, he said, ‘‘O.K.’’

If it weren’t for my father’s age (he’s 63), or for his eventual return, I would be tempted to call his unexplained absences by a name popular among young people: ghosting. The millennial neologism for an age-old conundrum, ‘‘ghosting’’ describes the situation in which a person — Tinder match, roommate, friend — exits a relationship swiftly and without discernible cause. Though its iterations are diffuse and occur along varying degrees of intimacy, the word is generally used by those who are left behind: ‘‘He ghosted me,’’ or ‘‘I was ghosted,’’ or ‘‘I was ghosted on.’’

Because I fear my father’s absence, I mimic his behavior and hope he might not be forgotten. I often close the channels of communication that I am expected to sustain, texting people I love only when I feel like it and answering the phone only when the caller is unknown. In November, the morning after the presidential election, a childhood friend sent me a text: ‘‘Sup?’’ I told him I was scared for my family. When he wrote back later that day to let me know that he, too, was scared — about his LSATs — I stopped responding; we haven’t spoken since. At a coffee shop, an Australian asked me what I was reading. I said, ‘‘ ‘Great Expectations,’ a terrible novel.’’ He told me he had gotten his Ph.D. studying apartheid and then wondered aloud which was more depressing: apartheid or the work of Charles Dickens. When he asked if I wanted to get a drink later that week to continue the conversation, I said, ‘‘O.K.’’ but never showed up.

According to the internet, this is very bad behavior. If you care about someone, and even if you don’t, you are meant to explain — in terms both clean and fair — why you are unable to fulfill the terms of their attachment: ‘‘I feel sick,’’ or ‘‘I have depression,’’ or ‘‘You are boring, and I am disappointed.’’ Those of us who neglect to disclose the seed of our indifference, or neglect to disclose the fact of our indifference altogether, are typically assumed to be selfish.

It’s no coincidence that ghosting arose as a collective fascination at a time of peak connectivity. When friends and acquaintances are almost always a swipe and a tap within reach, disappearing without a trace cuts especially deep. But the very function of ghosting is to halt the flow of information, and nearly every explainer written in its name — ‘‘How to Deal With Being Ghosted,’’ ‘‘How to Tell If You’re About to Be Ghosted,’’ ‘‘Why Friends Ghost on Even Their Closest Pals’’ — berates those who ghost for intentionally spinning silence into pain. Ghosters withhold information whose admission would be likely to provide relief in others, manipulating the terms of friendship, kinship and romantic love to appear in favor of a life lived in private.

If healthy relationships — especially in the digital age — are predicated on answerability, it makes sense that a lack of communication would feel like a breach of trust. But articulating negative feelings with tact is a task most often assigned to those whose feelings are assumed to be trivial. When fear for my family — black, migratory and therefore targets of the state — is equated with the mundane anxiety of a standardized test, I find it a relief to absent myself from the calculation. Saying, without anger, ‘‘This is how you hurt me’’ feels routine, like a ditty, and articulating the need for isolation — ‘‘Now I intend to disappear’’ — is always a betrayal of the need itself. Because society demands that people of color both accept offense and facilitate its reconciliation, we are rarely afforded the privacy we need. Ghosting, then, provides a line of flight. Freed from the ties that hurt us, or bore us, or make us feel uneasy, finally we can turn our attention inward.

Some months after my father began to arrive at dinner on time, he drove me through the neighborhood by his office, a route we had driven many times before. I asked him, once again, where he had run off to all those nights. Pulling over to the side of the road, he said, ‘‘There is an excellent meditation studio inside that building.’’ I looked at the building, which looked like nothing. Confused, I asked him what he knew about meditation. ‘‘I know much about meditation,’’ he told me. ‘‘I came here once daily. I meditated, I ate my dinner and, when I was finished, I returned home.’’

The information, it seemed, had become necessary. My father, like the rest of us, was just trying to get better."
antiblackness  poc  blackness  ghosting  2017  meditation  self-improvement  reltionships  digitalage  connectedness  answerability  emotions  flight  freedom  provacy  solitude  inwardness  attention  communication  isolation  kinship  disappearance 
august 2017 by robertogreco

« earlier    

related tags

2007  2011  2013  2014  2015  2017  about  academics  addiction  africa  agriculture  ai  airpods  al-shabab  alanwatts  algorithms  alienation  america  andrew_sullivan  animal  anniversaries  answerability  anthropology  antiblackness  anxiety  apple  archives  art  artificialintelligence  attention  attention_span  attentiveness  attraction  augmented_reality  automation  autopoiesis  bailout  bank  banking  banks  baudrillard  behavior  black  blackness  bluetooth  board  book  books  boredom  boundaries  brain  bubble  bug  business  busing  california  cancer  capitalism  cars  cavalry  cell_phones  change  charterschools  charts  child_development  childhood  children  christchurch  cities  cityheights  climatechange  collaboration  collective-intelligence  commonplace  communication  communities  community  compassion  complexity  concerns  connection  connections  connectivity  consequences  contemplation  couple  coupling  creativity  credit  creditcrisis  creditcrunch  crisis  culture  curiosity  cv  cycle  dakota  data  david_brooks  davidhorvitz  davidorr  dawson  dc:creator=carrnicholas  dc:creator=solnitrebecca  dctagged  debt  denmark  derrida  deschooling  design  difference  digitalage  disappearance  discomfort  distraction  distractions  diversity  djwaldie  dream  dreams  earth  echoes  ecoliteracy  ecology  economic  economics  economy  edreform  edtech  education  efficiency  emotion  emotions  empathy  empowerment  endurium  engagement  enlightenment  environment  eques  ethnicity  europeansystemicriskboard  everyday  evidence  evolution  experience  exploration  facebook  facebookconnect  facebooktimeline  facialrecognition  facts  fakenews  farhad_manjoo  faroeislands  fastcompany  fear  feedback  filterbubble  financial-crisis  financial  flight  flip-flop  focus  food  foucault  fractional  fredericklawolmstead  freedom  frictionlesssharing  funding  futag  futbiz  future  futuristgerd  futurists  g20  geography  germans  gfc  ghosting  gigaom  globalbrain  globalisation  god  goldrush  good  google  googleglass  greenfutures  grief  guests  harvard  hcinotebook  headphones  health  heartfelt  heartmath  heidegger  highereducation  history  howwelive  howweread  hubs  human  humanfuturist  humility  hyperconnectivity  iceland  ideology  image  inadequacy  inequality  influence  information  information_overload  innovation  inquiry  inspiration  internet  internet_addiction  internetofthings  intervention  investment  inwardness  iot  iphone  isolation  isolationism  jean-louis_gassée  joandidion  johnmuir  josiahroyce  kenya  kevinstarr  kinship  knowledge  labour  landscape  leaders  learning  leifsørensen  leisure  letter  leverage  libertarianism  libraries  lighting  living  lobby  lobbying  lobbyist  local  location  look_up  loop  looping  lrb  m  macroeconomic  making  mapping  mark_manson  market  massacre  mathematics  media  meditation  mesh_networking  michaelwesch  michelfoucault  mikepetrilli  mind  mindfulness  misinformation  mobile  mobility  morality  multi-tasking  nairobi  nature  neighborhoods  networkedlearning  networking  networks  news  newspapers  noma  north  nutrition  nytimes  onetoremember  onetowatch  online  op-ed  open  openness  ordinariness  organism  packing  papuanewguinea  parenting  participation  paulsoulellis  pedagogy  petergreene  philosophy  photography  place-based  place-basededucation  place-basedlearning  place-basedpedagogy  place  plants  platform  poc  polarisation  policy  politics  possibilities  possibility  poverty  privacy  provacy  psychology  quiet  race  reading  readwriteweb  reccenters  reflection  reform  religion  reltionships  renéredzepi  research  reserve  richardrodriguez  riskfactors  robertputnam  ross_douthat  rural  sabbath  safety  schooling  schools  science  scientism  secularism  self-improvement  sensors  sex  shadowbanking  shared  shareholder  sharing  silicon_valley  siliconvalley  slow  slowfood  slowness  small  smartphone  smartplanet  socialcapital  socialhack  socialmedia  socialnetwork  socialnetworking  society  sojourners  solitude  sovereign  speed  spiritual  stability  statistics  stats  stephaniepincetl  steve_jobs  strategy  street  student  students  sundar_pichai  super  superorganism  support  sustainability  sustainableliving  swan  systemsthinking  taeyoonchoi  tbtf  teaching  techaddiction  techcrunch  technologicaldeterminism  technology  technoutopianism  teenagers  telstra  terrorism  testing  testscores  thefuture  time  toobigtofail  town  transparency  travel  trees  trends  tristan_harris  ubiquitous  unintended  union  universality  unknown  unknowns  unkown  unschooling  urbanization  us  value  values  variation  video  viral  virginia_woolf  volga  vulnerability  wall  wealth  wealthinequality  wearables  web  well-being  wellbeing  westgate  whitesupremacism  williamhenryjackson  wired  wonder  work  world  youtube  zombie  zuckerbergmark 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: