On safety and security as surveillance

Safety and security have become trigger words for me. They are gateways to instant mistrust and suspicion because they have come to symbolise a loss of my personal power and privacy. The state, and authority more generally, has no interest in keeping me, and other ordinary people, safe. They are simply interested in controlling us. For instance, nowadays banks very often use those words – safety and security – to freeze online payments people make. They claim they do it to protect you from fraud and keep you safe, but in reality, all they are doing is forcing you to give them more information about why you are transferring money to a person or organisation: they know the who, but with these ‘safety checks’, they are also collecting the why and the what of your relationship to the recipient. Similarly, this online safety bill should be more honestly entitled the loss

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On acting from where you stand

The other day, I was trying to explain to two incredibly brilliant, but thoroughly pessimistic people, why the world isn’t actually shit. I think they suffer, like many well meaning, middle-class people, from a saturation of mainstream and social media; it weighs them down with a profound, dystopian hopelessness. As I have said before, I stopped using social media when Facebook rolled out it’s ‘timeline’ function, which, going by some googling, was about nine years ago now. I used Instagram for a while during the pandemic, but have since deactivated it in disgust. I also recently tried Twitter for a couple of months, as I have been thinking about how to share the writing I put on here. It will not be via Twitter, of that much I am sure.

On certainty

When I was studying religion at university, I came to the realisation that people who were religious had a need for certainty that I did not share. It seems pretty clear to me that vast swathes of the world have gone mad out of a need for the same thing: certainty. And it is precisely this neurosis which is driving them to (try to) control others. It seems pretty clear to me that it is impossible to control a virus. Aside from the fact that they are a part of the ecology of the earth and our bodies at all times (what else would we “test positive” for if we swabbed for it?*), they are microscopic organisms invisible to the naked eye. Rationally, how do you think you can control something you cannot see? You can’t. This is why everything that you are doing to try to control the virus doesn’t work,

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