Jenny Odell

‘The convenience of limitless connectivity has neatly paved over the nuance of in-person conversation, cutting away so much information and context in the process…

A simple refusal motivates my argument: refusal to believe that the present time and place, and the people who are here with us, are somehow not enough.’ (How To Do Nothing)

Back in the days when you could roam around on Medium without needing to sign in (I have a resistance to my reading being tracked to the point of being recommended particular things rather than being able to browse freely) I came across the article that became this book. Unusually I hadn’t clocked the ‘read time’ at the top, and became more and more intrigued as the piece unfolded at luxurious length.

I can’t remember why I decided to go out and buy the book last week, but I did. The person working at my local bookstore helped me locate it (in ‘self-help’, which is I suppose as good a place as any); we discussed it, and then he said he hope I would get a lot out of it. I retorted that I hoped I got nothing out of it…

I have spoken about what the author talks of as the ‘nuance’ of in-person communication in my recent talks – our human hard-wiredness for connection, for mirroring emotions, for limbic resonance. For all that I enjoy texting with friends around the world, it is not the same as sharing a cup of tea with them. And the very root of our practice is to abide in the present moment as enough, and with ourselves, and others, as enough.

So far I have not got very far into that book as it is so thought-provoking I have been stopping to take copious notes from just about every page.

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